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Published: February 2010
In 2009, over fifty companies operated more than seventy hydrogen cyanide (HCN) production facilities in the world. Direct production accounts for about 70% of the total capacity and the balance is derived as coproduct material from acrylonitrile production. DuPont had been the major global producer with about 20% of this capacity, until it sold its fibers unit to Koch Industries, Inc. Koch now has about 15% of global capacity. Evonik-Degussa and SNC Butachimie are also significant players, with about 11% and 10% of the global capacity in 2009, respectively.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of hydrogen cyanide:
Between 2005 and 2009, total consumption of hydrogen cyanide in the United States, Western Europe and Japan increased by about 2% per year. Increased consumption in Western Europe was offset by reductions in Japan and stagnation in the United States resulting from reduced demand for adiponitrile. Global consumption is expected to increase at an average rate of around 1–2% per year from 2009 through 2014, assisted by increased demand for nutritional additives. The major end uses for hydrogen cyanide include acetone cyanohydrin, adiponitrile, sodium cyanide, methionine, cyanuric chloride and chelating agents.
Most hydrogen cyanide is consumed at its production site. There is no trade in hydrogen cyanide.