Potassium sulphate is mainly used as fertilizer in agriculture. In industry it is also used for the production of alums, baker’s yeast, as a blend component in the manufacture of glass, in pharmacology – as a raw material for the production of biologically active additives.
As a food additive potassium sulphate has name E515 and refers to the group of emulsifiers required to create a homogeneous mixture of immiscible components in nature, for example, water and butter. E515 is also used in the industrial production of products for the control of acidity.
K2SO4 is in demand for cultivation of flax, grapes, tobacco, potatoes and citrus plants. In combination with the phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers potassium sulfate is used to improve the soil intended for the cultivation of sugar beet, sunflower and some root crops.
In the nature potassium sulfate is found in deposits of potassium salts. In addition to it, it can be found in the salt lake waters, however, mostly with various impurities. Pure potassium sulfate is relatively rare in nature. The most famous natural source of it is Arcanite mineral in the form of white or transparent crystals, which is produced in California (USA).
The production capacity of potassium sulfate in the world, according to some estimates, over the last 7 years have fluctuated at the level of 2-2,6 mln. tons. The dynamics of potassium sulfate release corresponds to the overall dynamics of the potash fertilizers release in the world. The largest potassium sulfate production is in China, Belgium, Germany and the United States. Now more than 50% of total world’s capacity is taken by Chinese enterprises. European manufacturers occupy about 30% of the global market of potassium sulfate. China is also a major consumer of potash products in the world. It is worth noting that Export of potassium sulfate from China in 2008 declines, due to the increased consumption of fertilizers in the tobacco industry in the country.