Sodium silicates (glassy sodium silicate and sodium water glass)

Sodium silicates are manufactured in solid form (glassy sodium silicate) and in liquid form (sodium water glass usually obtained by dissolving glassy sodium silicate in water). The CIECH Group, through CIECH Vitrosilicon S.A. and CIECH Soda Romania S.A., manufactures and sells glassy sodium silicate as well as sodium water glass. 

Sodium silicates are used for production of precipitated silica (about 35% of consumption in Europe, used mainly in the tyre and beauty product industries), detergents (more than 15%), paper, zeolites and in other industries.

In developing countries, applications related to production of detergents dominates, and the total consumption of these silica is proportional to the number of citizens.

Sodium silicates are one of the most popular non-organic chemicals, and are manufactured all over the world. However, due to their relatively low price and high importance of the liquid form in trade (silicates dissolved in water), international turnovers are performed usually on a local level, i.e. only on the European continent. 

The largest production capacities are located in China (about 40%). The most developed regions of the world (Europe, North America, Japan) are responsible for approx. 40% of global production capacities in total. 

Sodium silicate production capacities in Europe are estimated at more than 2 million tonnes per year (expressed in glassy sodium silicate). However, majority of these capacities is used by producers, who in general do not offer silicates on the free market. European production capacities are located in Western and Central Europe. 

PQ and BASF concerns as well as Polish entities, the CIECH Group and ZCh Rudniki, are leaders of the European market. The Group’s share in total production capacities in Europe is estimated at more than 10% for glassy sodium silicate (third largest producer) and approx 5% for sodium water glass (fifth largest producer).

The total demand for sodium silicates in Europe is estimated at more than 1.7 million tonnes per year (expressed in glassy sodium silicate), and its annual average growth dynamics is 1%–2%. A relatively low growth dynamics is due to maturity of the European market. Production of precipitated silica is a segment with a relatively high growth dynamics (annual average of 3%–4%). 

In Poland, sodium silicates are traded both in liquid form (sodium water glass) and solid form (glassy sodium silicate). The CIECH Group assessed its share in the domestic market of these chemicals in 2016 at the average level of 50%.


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