Lithium hydride is a salt-like white or gray crystalline powder, prepared by passing hydrogen gas over lithium metal and is majorly used in the preparation of lithium borohydride and lithium aluminum hydride. It has ha high melting point and is soluble with lithium borohydride, sodium hydride, and lithium fluoride. Lithium hydride reacts rapidly with low humid air forming lithium hydroxide, lithium oxide, and lithium carbonate.
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Some of the leading players operating in the global lithium hydride market are Merck KGaA., Albemarle Corporation, Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd, Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., Tianjin Daofu Chemical New Technology Development Co., Ltd., American Elements, and Parad Corporation Pvt Ltd.
Drivers and Restraints
Increasing demand for hydrogen storage and fuel cells in various applications such as portable power, stationary power, and transportation, is expected to fuel lithium hydride market growth. Lithium hydride is used in these applications as it has a high hydrogen content of any hydride.
According to Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, hydrogen has high energy per mass. However, hydrogen has low ambient temperature density, which results in its low energy density, thereby requiring advanced storage methods with the potential for high energy per unit volume.
However, lithium hydride causes skin burns, eye damage, and severe irritation of the nose and throat, which in turn, poses as major factors hindering growth of the lithium hydride market. Various precautions and safety measures are required to be carried out while handling and storing lithium hydride which includes keeping it away from sources of ignition such as open flame, sparks and storing it in separate rooms.
Among end-use industries, the chemicals segment is expected to gain significant traction and is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period. This growth is attributed to increasing adoption of lithium hydride in the production of various reagents such as lithium borohydride and lithium aluminum hydride, for organic synthesis.
According to global lithium hydride market analysis, North America is projected to exhibit significant growth in the market in 2017. Owing to growing battery storage sector in the region, it is expected to retain its position over the forecast period. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the U.S., lithium ion accounted for around 80% of the installed power and energy capacity of large-scale battery storage in operation, in 2016.
Furthermore, the growing chemical industry in the U.S. is propelling growth of the lithium hydride market. According to SelectUSA, the government-wide program in the U.S. established to facilitate business investment states that, the chemical industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the U.S. and was one of the top exporting sectors accounting for around 15% of chemical shipments globally in 2016.
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Asia Pacific is fastest growing region in the global lithium hydride market over the forecast period. This is attributed to the growing demand for lithium hydride in the emerging economies of the region for advanced energy storage (AES). For instance, The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Energy storage deployments in emerging markets worldwide is expected to grow by over 40% annually in the following decade, adding around 80 GW of new storage capacity to the estimated 2 GW existing today.
Additionally, lithium hydride is used in the manufacturing of electronic tubes and ceramics. Growing electronics industry in turn, is expected to propel growth of the market in Asia Pacific. For instance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), electronics is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. The electronics market in India was valued at US$ 100 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach US$ 400 billion by 2020, exhibiting a CAGR of 41.4% over the forecast period.
Key players are focusing on adopting various inorganic growth strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships, and new product launches to strengthen their foothold in the global lithium hydride market. For instance, in January 2017, Albemarle Corporation, one of the key players of lithium and lithium derivatives production, acquired Jiangxi Jiangli New Materials Science and Technology Co. Ltd that allows the company to supply lithium salts to strengthen its position in the lithium industry.
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