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Markets & Industries

Our industrial business segment focuses on products for high-grade food, technical and other applications. The primary drivers of our industrial business are global economic conditions and population growth.

Industrial phosphates are used in detergents and cleaners, food and beverages, metal finishing, water treatment and toothpaste. Industrial nitrogen — including anhydrous ammonia, urea, nitric acid and ammonium nitrate — is mainly used in plastics, resins and adhesives and increasingly as a product to help meet emission reduction standards (primarily in diesel engines and coal-fired power plants). Industrial potash is used in water softeners, food products, pharmaceuticals, soaps, deicers, batteries and drilling muds.

Market fast facts

Industrial Nitrogen

  • Industrial uses account for over 20 percent of nitrogen consumption worldwide.
  • China, the largest global consumer of industrial nitrogen, accounts for around 50 percent of global industrial ammonia consumption and more than 50 percent of industrial urea consumption; the US, Europe and the FSU are also major industrial nitrogen consumers.
  • In the US, industrial use accounts for nearly 30 percent of domestic ammonia consumption and approximately 20 percent of urea consumption.
  • Urea used for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a growing segment of the US nitrogen market.

Industrial Phosphates

  • Industrial use accounts for approximately 5 percent of global phosphate consumption.
  • Approximately 22 percent of industrial phosphate is used to produce detergents and cleaners; food and beverage applications account for almost 30 percent.
  • Environmental regulations are reducing the amount of industrial phosphates used in cleaners and detergents, reducing its share of total consumption.
  • China is the world’s largest producer, accounting for approximately 50 percent of global industrial phosphate capacity; the US and Mexico combined account for approximately 21 percent of global capacity.

Industrial Potash

  • Industrial grade potash uses account for approximately 10 percent of global potash consumption.
  • It is typically a higher-grade product that is 98 percent or more KCl (fertilizer grade contains about 95 percent KCl).
  • The majority of industrial potash is produced in North America and Germany.
  • The US is the largest consumer, accounting for about one-third of total use.
  • Approximately 45 percent of US industrial KCl sales are upgraded to produce potassium hydroxide (KOH).
  • China is the second largest consumer, accounting for nearly 30 percent of industrial potash use.

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Last Reviewed: Feb 24, 2017