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Published: October 2012
The neopentyl polyhydric alcohols discussed in this report include:
- Neopentyl glycol
- Trimethylolpropane (TMP)
- Trimethylolethane (TME)
- Dimethylolpropionic acid
Demand for most downstream markets for neopentyl polyhydric alcohols is greatly influenced by general economic conditions; as a result, demand largely follows the patterns of the leading world economies. Consumption of neopentyl polyhydric alcohols depends heavily on construction/remodeling activity, automotive production and original equipment manufacture (OEM), as coating resins account for 68% of world consumption.
Architectural coatings account for over 60% of the world consumption of pentaerythritol. Baked product finishes for OEM and automotive applications account for over 60% of neopentyl glycol demand. Approximately 50% of TMP is consumed in coating applications, while nearly all TME and dimethylolpropionic acid is consumed in coating resins. Manufacturers of coating resins often blend polyhydric alcohols to balance properties with costs. TMP and TME are both used as branching agents in polyester resins. Neopentyl glycol is used as a backbone constituent in polyester resins, competing with ethylene glycol, 1,6-hexanediol, TMP and other polyhydric alcohols.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of neopentyl polyhydric alcohols:
European markets for neopentyl glycol and TMP are double those of the United States. One factor for the greater use of neopentyl glycol in Europe is the higher use of polyester resins for powder coatings, especially on architectural aluminum. Other areas where powder coating of architectural aluminum is well established are the Middle East, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. Currently, the United States consumes little powder coating on aluminum extrusions because powder coating is not yet used in large-scale quantities on buildings exposed to extreme weather conditions, such as those found in Florida.
Of the three large-volume neopentyl polyhydric alcohols, neopentyl glycol is the fastest-growing product in most regions; world consumption is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 3.8% during 2011–2018. Consumption of pentaerythritol is forecast to grow rapidly in Asia (excluding Japan); in North America and Western Europe, demand growth is marginal to moderate, because of its use in alkyd surface coatings, which are slowly being replaced by other coating technologies. TMP is the third-fastest-growing neopentyl polyhydric alcohol; neopolyol esters for lubricants and multifunctional acrylates/methacrylates are behind most of the growth for TMP.
Asia (including Japan), Europe and North America are the largest markets for neopentyl polyhydric alcohols, accounting for nearly 91% of world consumption in 2012. World consumption of neopentyl polyhydric alcohols grew at an average annual rate of about 3% during 2008–2012, down from 3.5% during 2005–2008, the result of weaker demand during 2008–2009 caused by the global recession and the uncertain speed and timing of a recovery during 2012–2014. Strong Asian (excluding Japan) demand in all applications boosted overall demand during 2008–2012. World consumption is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 3.6% during 2011–2018. Continuing rapid demand growth in Asia and the Middle East, and significant growth in Central and South America, will balance out moderate growth in North America and Western Europe.