Formic acid, also known as methanoic acid or carboxylic acid, is a colorless corrosive liquid with vesicant properties. It is naturally found in insects, and some plants. Formic acid gives a pungent and penetrating odor at room temperature. HCOOH is the chemical formula of formic acid. It is chemically manufactured through various methods such as hydrogenation of carbon dioxide and oxidation of biomass.
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It is also a bi-product of acetic acid production. Formic acid dissolves in water, alcohols, and other hydrocarbons such as acetone and ether. The formic acid market is expected to expand significantly during the forecast period due to the rise in demand for the acid in various applications such as preservatives, animal feed, agriculture, and leather.
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Based upon concentration, the formic acid market can be segmented into 85%, 90%, 94%, and 95% and above. The 85% segment accounted for major share of the market in 2016. It is widely used in various applications. Based on revenue and volume, the 85% segment dominated the market in 2016. High demand for 85% concentration of formic acid in the market can be ascribed to low concentration. As a result, it is less toxic to environment and human life. The 85% formic acid concentration is considered the standard concentration for various applications. Other concentrations are customized based on applications.
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Based upon application or end-user, the formic acid market can be divided into leather, agriculture, rubber, pharmaceutical, chemicals, and others. The agriculture segment held significant share of the formic acid market in 2016. It was followed by rubber and leather segments. Rise in consumption of formic acid as an antibacterial agent for animal feed and usage as silage preservative in agriculture are expected to augment the formic acid market in the next few years. Increase in demand for meat across the globe has boosted the consumption of formic acid. Manufacturing companies, associations, and end-product manufacturers are investing significantly in advancement and technology modifications of formic acid to meet the rising demand from various end-user industries. This is projected to propel the market during the forecast period.
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In terms of region, the formic acid market can be segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominated the formic acid market in 2016. China is the key producer and consumer of formic acid across the globe. Textile and rubber industries are the prominent consumers of formic acid in Asia Pacific. Rapid industrialization and easy availability of raw materials are major reasons for higher share of Asia Pacific in the market. Regulatory norms are also minimal in the region.
This allows the formic acid market to expand at a rapid pace. North America also held key share of the formic acid market in 2016. It was followed by Europe. Large number of manufacturers such BASF SE and Perstorp AB operate in the region. Latin America and Middle East & Africa accounted for low share of the formic acid market in 2016; however, demand for formic acid in these regions is projected to rise at a faster CAGR during the forecast period. Leather and tanning applications account for prominent share of the formic acid market in Middle East & Africa.
Key manufacturers operating in the formic acid market are BASF SE, Gujrat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited, Perstorp AB, and Taminco Corporation.