Hydrogen cyanide, also called prussic acid, is a chemical compound having the formula, HCN. Hydrogen cyanide is available in the form of toxic liquid or colorless gas, which is highly poisonous. It is a linear molecule, with a triple bond between carbon and nitrogen. Hydrogen cyanide is found in the smoke of various tobacco products and is also released by combustion of nitrogen-containing organic materials. Although it is poisonous, HCN is used in several industrial processes and is a highly valuable precursor to various chemical compounds, ranging from polymers to pharmaceuticals. On the basis of structure type, the hydrogen cyanide market can be segmented into hydrogen cyanide liquid and hydrogen cyanide gas. HCN is obtainable from fruits that have a pit, such as cherries, apricots, apples, and bitter almonds, from which almond oil and flavoring are made. Hydrogen cyanide is extremely toxic in nature and hence, most of it is consumed at the production site. Thus, there is no trade or transport for hydrogen cyanide.
Hydrogen cyanide is used to manufacture sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide, used mainly in gold and silver mining and for electroplating of those metals. HCN is added to butadiene to produce adiponitrile, a precursor to Nylon-6,6. Hydrocyanic acid is primarily used to manufacture products such as acrylonitrile, adiponitrile, cyanogen chloride, cyanuric chloride, acrylates and methacrylates, cyanide, and ferrocyanide. It is also used as an insecticide and rodenticide, usually by fumigation. Furthermore, various chelating agents such as EDTA and NTA are manufactured using hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide forms in limited amounts from many combinations of hydrogen, carbon, and ammonia. It is currently produced in great quantities through several processes and is also recovered as a waste product from the manufacturing of acrylonitrile.
An important driver of the hydrogen cyanide market is the demand for manufacturing of sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide, used in the mining of silver and gold. Another key driver of the hydrogen cyanide market is its increasing use in production of adiponitrile, which is the precursor to manufacture nylon 66. However, a major restraint the hydrogen cyanide market encounters is the highly toxic nature of the compound, which makes it difficult for transportation or storage. Hydrogen cyanide is extremely poisonous to human, as it binds irreversibly to the iron atom present in the hemoglobin, disabling it from transporting oxygen to the cells or tissues of the body. It also interferes with ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy storage molecule in the body. The combination of these two events rapidly brings the body’s metabolism to a halt, resulting in death.
On the basis of geography, the hydrogen cyanide market can be classified into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The hydrogen cyanide market in North America is driven by the moderate growth in the production of sodium cyanide and adiponitrile in the region. In Europe, the hydrogen cyanide market is projected to expand at sluggish pace during the forecast period. However, Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit steady growth due to usage of hydrogen cyanide in the production of adiponitrile in the region. In Asia Pacific, China is expected to emerge as the dominant consumer of hydrogen cyanide during the forecast period.
Key manufacturers of the hydrogen cyanide market are the BP Chemicals, DuPont, and HINDUSTHAN CHEMICALS COMPANY, and Ascend Performance Materials.