Uses and properties
Sodium sulphate derives from natural deposits or is recovered as a by-product from various industrial processes. It is extracted from sodium sulphate-rich brines or lakes.
Sodium sulphate is mostly used in detergents, and to a lesser extent in glass, kraft pulping and textiles. Detergent companies appreciate the fact that sodium sulphate aids the free flowing of the detergent to the wash drum as well as preventing caking during storage. Meanwhile, in the glass industry, sodium sulphate acts as a descumming and refining agent.
In the pulp and paper industry, a considerable decline of sodium sulphate usage has been seen due to changes in production processes, the use of alternative materials and environmental legislation. Finally, in textiles, it is used as a dye fixative to set and standardise the concentration.
The total world market of sodium sulphate amounts to approximately 16 to 17 million tons, of which China accounts for more than 70% and Europe for slightly over 10%.
Chinese exports grew by some 50% over the past 5 years and one third of the exports remain in Asia while two thirds go to the rest of the world.
Natural sources in Europe have a share of just below 60% of the total European production and are concentrated in Spain due to the country's rich deposits of natural minerals. European industrial gained sodium sulphate is slightly above 40%.
The total number of producers in Europe decreased over the past years, concentrating to a few major producers with an output of roughly 100.000 tons/yr or more and several smaller producers.
Adisseo France S.A.S.(Novacarb) (FR)
Alkim Alkali Kimya A.S. (TU)
Compañia Minera de Rio Tirón SA (ES)
Lenzing AG (AT)
Minera de Santa Marta (ES)
Perstorp AB (SE)
Check the full Sodium Sulphate Producers Association Brochure