Hydrogen fluoride (HF), better known as hydrofluoric acid, is one of the basic
raw materials for a wide variety of both commercial and industrial products.
Additionally hydrogen fluoride is widely used in electronics, the metallurgical
industry, petroleum production, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and
crop protection, consumer products, detergents, crystal glass and ceramics.
It is produced by reacting a naturally occurring mineral, fluorspar, with sulphuric acid. HF is a strong corrosive acid which must be handled with extreme caution. Safety is therefore the primary concern of both producers and users.
The socio-economic importance of the fluorine industry
In 2015, European hydrofluoric acid production reached 232,000 tonnes with a value estimated around 270 million EUR.
Around three hundred people are directly employed at nine HF production sites in four European countries. It is estimated that the total number of jobs related to the fluorine industry, including downstream products, amounts to more than 50,000.