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Chloride Process for TiO2 Will See a Significant Growth in China

Chloride Process for TiO2 Will See a Significant Growth in China2018.12.14

At present, titanium dioxide can be produced through chlorination method and sulfate process, and chloride process has become the mainstream production process for the titanium dioxide industry around the world.


Chlorination Method vs. Sulfate Route


Sulphate process uses a common iron/titanium oxide material. It is treated with concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and the titanium oxygen sulfate (TiOSO4) is selectively extracted and converted into titanium dioxide. Now the production technology is mature and easy to operate. However, the sulfate process requires the use of very large quantities of sulfuric acid and produces copious amounts of acidic waste which could cause severe damages to the environment if not disposed properly.


Chlorination method requires a higher operation technique, and purer ore or rutile which is a much rarer. The raw material must contain at least 70% rutile. Titanium dioxide is reduced with carbon and then oxidised again with chlorine. Compared to the sulfate process, it can shorten the TiO2 production process and produce higher quality products. Moreover, the chlorine gas can also be recycled and less waste will be produced.


TiO2 in China and Other Countries
 
Compared with sulfate method, the chlorination may have more advantages and has become the major production technique in the developed countries. Large TiO2 producers in foreign countries, such as Chemours, Tronox, Huntsman and Kronos are mainly using the chlorination method with the chlorination production capacity accounting for 65.3%.
 
Fig. Market Share of the World’s Top 5 TiO2 Supplier
Top 5 Suppliers of TiO2
 
China has been a major producer of titanium dioxide in the world for nearly 9 years. However, compared with sulfated TiO2, chlorinated TiO2, develops slowly. For example, the largest TiO2 producer from China, Lomon Billions, produced most of its TiO2 with sulfate process. In China, the proportion of TiO2 with chlorination method from 2011 to 2017 is 1.35%, 1.27%, 1.11%, 1.78%, 3.5%, 4.1%, and 5.8% respectively.
 
 
Fig. Proportion of Chlorination TiO2 in China

TiO2 Chloride Process
 
 
 
 
Difficulties For Chlorinated TiO2 in China
 
The sulfate process for TiO2 in China is still the mainstream which accounts for more than 90% of the market. If the chloride process is used, 65% of the raw materials like titanium concentrate need to be imported from other countries.
 
Besides, the production capacity of the chloride process is quite small but with a high cost, and has a big gap from other countries. Another problem is the product homogenization in China with the overcapacity of low-end products. And the breakthrough of the chloride process shall be started from the core technologies.
 
 
Future Trend of the TiO2 Market in China


As more enterprises in China started to turn to the chloride process for titanium dioxide, we may expect to see a rapid development of chloride titanium dioxide in the near future and we believe the total production capacity of chloride titanium dioxide will be significantly increased.


Besides, the sulfuric process and chloride process are complementary rather than substitutive and will coexist in the Chinese market  for a long time in the future. And the sulfuric process is unlikely to be withdrawn from the market in China in the short term.

 
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