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Published: March 2011
Carbon disulfide has been an important industrial chemical since the late nineteenth century. It is used in a variety of applications, including the production of regenerated cellulose (rayon and cellophane) and the manufacture of organic sulfur compounds including agricultural, pharmaceutical and rubber chemicals. Its properties as an organic solvent are useful in many industrial applications, such as extraction and cleaning processes.
Asia, including Japan, accounted for about 72% of world production and nearly 75% of world consumption of carbon disulfide. China is the dominant global player in this industry, with some 49% of global consumption, followed by India (13%). Both countries have expanding rayon fiber industries, which account for the majority of carbon disulfide consumption. The situation is similar in Western Europe, which accounted for 12% of world consumption in 2010. In total, 98% of the world consumption of carbon disulfide was accounted for by Asia, Europe and the Americas (74.5%, 15.8% and 7.7% of global demand, respectively).
The rise of Asia as the powerhouse where carbon disulfide is consumed (and produced) is closely related to the changes in the global pattern of the textile, rubber, mining and agricultural chemicals industries, which have increasingly relocated their manufacturing bases to this region. In 2004, Asia's share of global demand was 60.5%, whereas Europe and the Americas accounted for about 26% and 11% of total consumption, respectively.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of carbon disulfide:
The production of regenerated cellulose (in the form of rayon fibers, cellophane, sponges and casing) is the dominant industrial application of carbon disulfide, accounting for 70% of total demand. In the absence of new applications, the health of the overall carbon disulfide market will depend on sustainable growth in the fibers application, which on a global scale is expected to be about 4.0% during 2010–2015. Other important areas where carbon disulfide is being used are in the production of rubber chemicals (predominantly as vulcanization accelerators) and agricultural chemicals (as fumigants). With the increasing prices of basic raw materials, the use of carbon disulfide in the manufacture of mining chemicals (as flotation agents) is gaining in importance and has the highest forecast growth rate among the different applications.
The top five producers account for nearly 65% of global installed carbon disulfide capacity. Over the forecast period, new capacity for carbon disulfide is expected to be added only in Asia, because this is the area where demand is growing. Access to raw materials—mainly natural gas and sulfur—and to modern production technology are the critical factors for success. Some capacity rationalization, as well as industry consolidation, could be expected for the region.
Future growth is expected to be most significant in Asia, whereas other regions with significant demand are expected to stagnate or to grow at only about 1–2% annually over the forecast period. On a global level, demand is expected to rise 4% annually on average between 2010 and 2015.