June 20, 2024

HCL Leaching in High Purity Alumina Industry is driven by increasing demand for LED lighting and lithium-ion batteries

The high purity alumina market consists of various stages of alumina processing with increasing levels of purity, from intermediate to specialty grades. HCL leaching is a highly energy intensive purification process that is often used to produce 4N or 5N grades of alumina, which is suitable for applications that require extremely high purity such as LED lighting and lithium-ion batteries. HCL leaching removes elements like iron, silicon, and titanium through hydrochloric acid treatment, resulting in alumina with greater than 99.99% purity levels. The global high purity alumina market is estimated to be valued at US$ 2.4 Bn in 2024 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 13. % over the forecast period 2023 to 2030.

Key Takeaways
Key players operating in the high purity alumina market are Alcoa Inc., Bukowski, Orbite Technologies Inc., Altech Chemicals Limited, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Xuancheng Jingrui New Material Co., Ltd., Nippon Light Metal Company Ltd., Dalian Hiland Photoelectric Material Co., Ltd., Sasol, and Rusal. Growing demand for LED lighting from both commercial and residential applications is driving consumption of high purity alumina. LEDs require highly pure grades of alumina as phosphor to efficiently emit light. In addition, the robust market for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and electronics is also contributing to alumina demand growth. Countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are major electronics and EV battery hubs witnessing significant infrastructure addition, positively impacting the high purity alumina space.

Market key trends
Increasing miniaturization of electronics is a key trend in industries like smartphones and wearable devices. This has created opportunities for more efficient and brighter LEDs requiring extremely high purity alumina. At the same time, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries continues increasing through continuous product innovation and new chemistries. Both these factors are augmenting requirements for high purity alumina in the 4N and 5N categories.

Porter’s Analysis
Threat of new entrants: New players need substantial capital investments to build HCL leaching facilities and compete with existing players in this market. Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers have moderate bargaining power due to availability of substitute materials and differentiated products from existing players. Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers have moderate bargaining power due to availability of alternative raw materials and global presence of major suppliers. Threat of new substitutes: Threat of new substitutes is low as HPA has superior properties over substitute materials for specialized applications. Competitive rivalry: Intense competition exists among existing players to gain higher market share and benefit from the projected high growth in the HPA market.

Geographical regions: Currently, North America accounts for the largest share of the global HCL leaching HPA market value due to strong demand from the semiconductor industry in the US. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional market between 2023-2030 driven by increasing manufacturing of LEDs and electric vehicles in China.