The global sodium hydroxide market values an estimated USD 51.8 billion in 2023, and it is expected to reach USD 71.8 billion by 2030, at 4.9% CAGR between 2024 and 2030. The market growth is attributed to the rising demand for caustic soda from the paper & pulp industry, textile industry, and the food industry. Moreover, it has a wide application in the petroleum industry, specifically, the treatment of crude oil. Moreover, anhydrous sodium hydroxide catalyzes the transesterification of methanol and triglycerides during the manufacturing of biodiesel.
Wastewater treatment is another major application of caustic soda. The one constant challenge in water and wastewater treatments is to maintain the proper pH level of water. Several chemicals are used to tackle the situation, including sodium hydroxide. It is a strong alkali, which means that it is highly ionized and has a high pH value. Thus, it is used to reduce the acidity of water and make its pH more neutral. Moreover, NaOH is helpful in removing heavy metallic particles from water.
By end user, the soaps & detergents category accounts for the significant revenue share, of 20%, in 2023. This chemical is used in the production of hard soap bars, in contrast to potassium hydroxide, which is used for liquid soaps. The higher consumption of sodium hydroxide is attributed to its low cost and effectiveness even in smaller quantities.
The food industry will show the fastest growth over the forecast period, as NaOH has a wide application in food processing, including of olives and flavored pretzels, to which it gives their brown color and unique crunch.
Additionally, it is utilized in preservatives, which prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in the food, as well as to peel potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables, before processing.
Caustic soda is also used to enhance the flavor and appearance of cocoa powder and chocolate. It is particularly used in Dutch chocolate bars, which are known for their powerful flavors and dark colors. By accelerating oxidation events and Maillard reaction at higher pHs, sodium hydroxide interacts with the compounds in partially processed or unprocessed chocolate that have sour or unpleasant tastes and also promotes a deeper color. It is essential in cocoa products, when they are used to prepare drinks, frosting, and desserts; here, treatment with NaOH enhances the capacity of cocoa products to disperse in water and milk.
Geographically, the North American sodium hydroxide market will witness significant growth over this decade. This is credited to the availability of advanced industrial infrastructure and ongoing developments in the food & beverage industry. Moreover, the presence of large paper & pulp and cosmetics industries drives the growth of the market in the region.
Moreover, the Middle East & Africa is expected to witness a major increase in the demand for NaOH in the years to come. The boost in the economy, presence of numerous refineries, and availability of huge reserves of crude oil in the region propel the consumption of sodium hydroxide.
Some of the major market players are Tata Chemicals Limited, Solvay S.A., Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd., Formosa Plastics Corporation, Olin Corporation, Dow Inc., Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co. Ltd., BASF SE, and Akzo Nobel N.V.