Bromine, a heavy, mobile, reddish-brown liquid with an intensely irritating odour, is the only non-metallic element that is a liquid at normal room temperatures. It is a diatomic molecule with the chemical formula Br2
The bromine available for extraction occurs as bromide in the ocean, in salt lakes and in brine or saline deposits left by evaporation of such waters by solar heat. Sea bitterns, the left over concentrated solution after the crystallizing out of salt from the sea water, are very rich in bromine and offer a good raw material for the manufacture of bromine. Bromine is extracted from seawater, which typically containing bromide ions at 0.65 – 0.70 gpl concentration.
Bromine and brominated compounds are majorly manufactured in the U.S. and at the Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan. The concentration of bromine ions in solutions from the Dead Sea reaches 10-12 gpl. This high concentration of bromine ions makes the production process efficient.
A suitable oxidant is needed to obtain bromine from a solution containing bromide ions. The bromine production process is mainly based on the reaction of bromide with chlorine.
The reaction consists in oxidizing bromide ions in aqueous solution to produce elementary bromine:
2Br–(aq) + Cl2(g) → Br2(g) + 2Cl–(aq)
Bromine is widely distributed in nature, but in relatively small proportions. Bromine and bromo-compounds have wide range of uses in chemical and other uses. It is used for the manufacture of dye intermediate & dye stuffs, drugs & pharmaceutical products, photography chemicals, insecticides, fuming agents, antiknock gasoline, flame retardants, in textile industry and in oil exploration. It is also used in controlling microbes and algae in swimming pools.
These multiple applications have led to a remarkable growth in the global bromine market. Global demand for bromine market has reached 483 kilo metric tons (KMT) in 2016, up from 470 KMT in 2015. The global and Asia-Pacific demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% and 7.5% respectively.
With China leading as the biggest consumer, Asia-Pacific markets contribute 64% to the global demand. On the production side, United States and Israel are the world leaders. In US, bromine production is concentrated in the southern Arkansas and in Israel the main source is the Dead Sea, which is also called the Salt Sea. India on the other side enjoys around 5% market share in Asia Pacific market.
SBPL aims to export around 70% of its bromine production in Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin American markets. With the production capacity of 25,000 TPA of liquid bromine, SBPL will be contributing around 45% of Domestic Capacity by 2019.