The global hydrodesulfurization market estimated revenue is USD 3,092.9 million in 2023, which is expected to reach USD 4,267.9 million by 2030, progressing with a CAGR of 4.9% during 2024–2030. This is attributed to the increasing SO2 emissions from automobiles and industries, which can affect the respiratory system and cause irritation in the eyes. It also causes excessive coughing, respiratory tract infection, mucus secretion, and severe conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and even lung cancer.
By type, the cobalt–molybdenum category holds the largest share in the market. Molybdenum–cobalt catalyst is the most-common HDS catalyst, having been in wide usage in industrial processes for the last few decades. Molybdenum is known for its high activity in the sulfur removal reactions and, when combined with cobalt the overall activity of the catalyst is enhanced. This makes the chemical effective at breaking sulfur-containing compounds in hydrocarbons.
Ruthenium also holds a significant share in the market as it is highly active during thiophene hydrodesulfurization. Ruthenium exhibits high catalytic activity in breaking sulfur bonds in hydrocarbons, thus facilitating the efficient removal of sulfur-containing compounds. The high activity is crucial for achieving effective desulfurization.
Diesel accounts for the largest share in the market, under segmentation by application, because it contains higher amounts of sulfur, which needs to be reduced to the set limit. This is because high amounts of this metal can lead to difficulties in breathing and irritation in the eyes, along with environmental pollution and severe health issues, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
The increasing demand for cleaner fuels is driving the market growth, as global environmental concerns are increasing and emission regulations are becoming stricter. As governments are aware of the consequences of climate change, they are increasingly implementing measures to curb pollution, thereby necessitating a shift toward low-emission energy sources. Cleaner fuels, such as those with reduced sulfur content, play a crucial role in this transition. Sulfur compounds in traditional fuels contribute to air pollution and pose health risks.
Moreover, the increasing demand for cleaner fuel in the automotive industry is expanding growth, as automobiles are major consumers of fuel. In this regard, the demand for cleaner fuels is propelled by the ongoing evolution of the automotive landscape toward greener alternatives. This trend is reshaping the energy and refining sectors, thereby fostering innovation in catalyst technologies, to meet the pressing need for sustainable and eco-friendly energy solutions.
Geographically, North America accounted for the largest revenue share in the market, of 55%, in 2023. This is attributed to the high-volume usage of petroleum and its derivatives and the government regulations to promote low-sulfur fuel to protect the environment. Moreover, the U.S. has the most oil refineries in the world, at approximately 130, which produce 18 million barrels daily.
Europe also holds a significant share because of the increasing level of pollution and the consequential implementation of rules to reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide from fuel. For instance, in December 2022, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) imposed regulations to reduce the sulfur content in marine fuel from 0.5% to 0.1%. The key aim behind this move is to reduce emissions in the Mediterranean Sea by almost 80%. Since Europe has a massive shipping industry, this factor propels the demand for hydrodesulfurization catalysts here.
Some of the key players are Albemarle Corporation, Axens SA, Johnson Matthey PLC, JGC Catalysts & Chemicals Ltd., BASF SE, Clariant AG, and Shell PLC.