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Lactic Acid is a versatile material found in a variety of innovative products that was first discovered by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1780 and produced commercially by Charles E. Avery in 1881. 

It’s Applications in Industry?

Lactic Acid is a naturally occurring organic acid utilised in various industries, such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food, and, most recently, medical industries.

In the food industry, which accounts for a large portion of the demand (35%), it has several uses:

However, it is also used as an antimicrobial in cleaning products, has applications in the leather tanning industry, in descaling processes, in the textile industry as a mordant (fixative) for dyeing, and can be converted to ethanol, propylene glycol, and acrylic polymers in the chemical industry.

Graph showing use of lactic acid across industries

Fig. 1. Uses and demand of lactic acid (The Essential Chemical Industry Online 2013)

Although it’s been commercially available for a long time, it is only in recent decades that new uses have resulted in a tremendous increase in demand.

For example, its an essential building block in producing a range of new and innovative bioplastics, PLA or Polylactic Acid – the new generation of biodegradable polymers.

The use of Lactic Acid in manufacturing environmentally friendly, green solvents is another area for significant potential growth. Using it as a green solvent enriches the diversity and versatility of bio-based green solvents and could offer an effective means for designing environmentally benign synthetic systems.

Its application and innovative usefulness seem ever-growing, and in 2010, it was included in a report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy on chemicals that are considered potential building blocks for the future.

Lactic Acid from Redox

Redox is proud to work with leading manufacturers of Lactic Acid and Lactates globally and can create solutions for all customer requirements.

Redox supplies Lactic Acid in the Australian, New Zealand, Malaysian, and North American markets and is available in various packing sizes. These include 25kg carboys250kg steel drums and 1200kg IBCs.

We offer it in a range of varied strengths, with a powder form also available for specific applications. Our Lactic Acid conforms to the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), ensuring our product’s overall safety and integrity.

Contact one of our experts to discover how Redox can be an essential element of your sourcing strategy.

The rise of the industrial phosphates industry has gone hand in hand with technologies to purify phosphoric acid. During the 1960s and 70s, chemical producers raced to develop an adequately pure phosphoric acid for manufacture.

Two processes prevailed in the manufacturing of purified Phosphoric acid:

The thermal process typically produces a more concentrated and purer product. Still, it is energy-intensive, whereas the wet process undergoes a ten-step purified process of Ag grade phosphoric acid (involves sulphuric acid & rock phosphate).

Both methods meet FCC standards for food use.

How is Phosphoric acid being used?

It’s a highly versatile and economical product where users are generally chasing its medium-strong strength acidic nature, Phosphorus (P) content or both.

Main uses include – 

The latest and most exciting use is in Lithium batteries for electric cars. 

lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery

The future: Tesla, among other manufactures announce intentions to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry in its smaller vehicles.

Announced as part of the third-quarter earnings report, Tesla reported that all entry-level Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles would be equipped with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells, an excellent stimulus for the iron phosphate industry.

Our commitment to our customers

We deal in Purified Phosphoric Acid (PPA – white or clean), white being the most commercially important, accounting for 99% of demand worldwide

We have established a substantial Australian & New Zealand market share due to our long term partnerships with some of the worlds most prominent and most reliable PPA producers.

Whilst PPA is predominately produced in China, we have sources in Europe, Vietnam, the USA and some other smaller regions, ensuring continuity of supply to our many customers across Australia, New Zealand, and now into the USA and Malaysia.

This year, in particular, had demonstrated our capacity to continue to supply when the market fluctuations were at their highest, due primarily to China’s energy and environmental constraints as well as world shipping difficulties linked with the COVID pandemic.

How we can help

We supply 1000L IBC’s in Australia, bringing drums, carboys, and Isotainers. Strengths are 85%, 81% and 75%, and generally, in lower temp climates, users will use lower strength to avoid a slight chance of crystallisation. 

Our massive stock levels across our warehouses allow us to fulfil orders at short notice regardless of the required quantity and deliver them to any location across our customer base.

Working with a supplier that can guarantee consistent quality is critical; Redox is in a great position to meet and exceed your expectations. Contact one of our industry specialists today.

Chinese producers of downstream phosphorus products have recently called Force Majeure, announced large price increases or have cancelled/delayed shipments.

Phosphate production is impacted by energy outages

Aerial view of small hydroelectric station; power restrictions are causing issues for production.

1. Electricity supply problems

China’s yellow phosphorus output is concentrated in the Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Hubei provinces’ south-western region.

Hydroelectric power generation is the main source of electricity in the south-west area and with this year’s dry period in Yunnan being longer than in previous years (December to May) generation was impacted.

It was only in May of this year that power restrictions began to escalate again in Yunnan, affecting a large proportion of the yellow phosphorus market who were forced to reduce or stagger their production.

With this as a backdrop, we can see how yellow phosphorus prices began to rise noticeably from mid-May onwards and as a result the market supply tension has continued to intensify as the market essentially has not enough inventory to meet demand.

It is predicted that the price and supply of yellow phosphorus will continue to trend upwards, at least in the short term.

2. Environmental protection and production restrictions

China produced 130 million tons of phosphate ore each year until 2015, when it was at its peak.

However, environmental concerns were being raised and the potential issues that could impact the phosphate market if left unchecked for too long. Things such as uncontrolled mining and primarily small and medium-sized business practices and the impacts these have on the environment.

As a result, improving the governance and adaptation of phosphate mines has been one of China’s most significant environmental governance triumphs in recent years.

However, and as a result, under the policy of environmental protection and production restrictions China’s phosphate ore production has decreased drastically, with negative growth in production from 2016 and a negative growth rate of -27.9% in 2018.

For the first time in recent memory, production fell below 100 million tons for the first time in history and ongoing production continues to drop under the policy of environmental protection and industrial limitations.

3. Popularity of Lithium iron phosphate batteries

Power batteries are classified as being either lithium iron phosphate or ternary lithium, depending on their composition. Ternary lithium batteries have gained popularity in recent years because of their high energy density, whereas lithium iron phosphate batteries are recognized for being less expensive and safer.

The contemporary downstream application market has also increased yellow phosphorus demand this year. In 2021, the yellow phosphorus market has benefited from the surge in downstream applications. When compared to the more traditional market, the battery industry C lithium iron phosphate is a more powerful ally of the yellow phosphorus market than it was even this time last year.

As of May, the cumulative production of lithium iron phosphate was 50.3%, more than 49.6% of ternary lithium batteries, and is predicted to see year on year growth up to 80%.

Phosphorus Yellow June 19th 2021 - September 17th 2021(Unit: RMB/ton)

Phosphorus Yellow June 19th 2021 – September 17th 2021 (Unit: RMB/ton)

Affected products

Some of the affected products that may be impacted by the issues surrounding the phosphorus market have been listed below.

Please contact your Redox representative to discuss any concerns or supply strategy.

ICIS Chemical Business Magazine has released their annual ‘Top 100 Chemical Distributors’ list naming Redox as the 11th largest distributor in Asia and 33rd worldwide based on 2020 calendar year revenue (USD $531.2m)

 

The annual list presents global rankings of companies who are leaders in chemical distribution, positioning global players by sales and also breaks out regional leaders. This year there was a record of nearly 300 companies participating.

Click here to read the full report.

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