You can purchase from this page directly by clicking the 'Purchase' link below.
If you haven't previously registered, you will be taken through a registration process as part of the purchase procedure.
Reports are provided electronically as pdf files. We attempt to email full report pdf files to your registered e-mail address.
Global enterprise-wide online access for a period of one year from date of purchase is also available.
Please contact us using the sales link found to the right on this page for additional information on this option, or if you would prefer not to purchase online.
Published: August 2011
Acetonitrile is a colorless liquid with a boiling point of 82°C, used primarily as a solvent. Acetonitrile is a coproduct in the manufacture of acrylonitrile by ammoxidation of propylene at a rate of about 2–3% of acrylonitrile production.. Theoretically, other processes can be used to produce acetonitrile, including processes featuring the starting materials ammonia, acetic acid or carbon monoxide. These alternative routes have never been commercialized. In times of normal supply they are in fact less economically viable than the traditional recovery of acetonitrile as coproduct in acrylonitrile synthesis.
However, during 2008 and 2009, the acute shortage in acetonitrile supply led to a renewed interest in alternative synthetic routes with some success. In 2009, AlzChem, a subsidiary of Evonik, managed to directly synthesize 99.9% pure acetonitrile through gas-phase reaction. This synthetic route is in fact significantly more expensive than the traditional one, and the acetonitrile produced is significantly higher in price with respect to the acetonitrile recovered during the acrylonitrile process. A few companies in China and in India have also isolated acetonitrile using direct synthesis, but do not appear to be operating at present.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of acetonitrile:
Consumption of acetonitrile in the pharmaceutical and analytical industries has experienced solid growth. However, during 2009–2010, there was some demand disruption as a result of very high acetonitrile prices and limited availability. Analytical laboratories and pharmaceutical producers have, where possible, partly switched to alternative solvents to be used for nonsensitive operations such as flushing pipes and cleaning reactors. At the same time, however, demand for acetonitrile has been growing strongly in China and India. As a consequence, the global acetonitrile market is believed to be balanced currently.
The pharmaceutical industry is the largest end use for acetonitrile. It can be used as a starting material to synthesize vitamins A and B1, cortisone, carbonate drugs and some amino acids. It is estimated that approximately half of China's consumption of acetonitrile is for the production of vitamin B1, half of which is then exported worldwide. Moreover, acetonitrile is also used as a solvent in the production of insulin and antibiotics, as well as tertiary-generation cephalosporins (cefriaxone sodium, cefoperazone sodium). The latter are used to treat infections in the lower respiratory tract, skin tissue and bacterial septicemia. The use of acetonitrile in pharmaceutical products for diseases has grown rapidly in recent years, boosted by improved living standards in industrialized countries. Consumption of acetonitrile for pharmaceuticals will continue to grow during the next five years.
World consumption is forecast to continue to grow at a rate of about 5% per year over the next five years. The highest growth rate (about 8–9% per year) is expected for China and India, because of the increasing production of engineered drugs, generic pharmaceuticals and pesticides in these countries. In Europe (including Switzerland) and in the United States, the annual growth rate for 2010–2015 is estimated at 2%.