Plasticizer Alcohols (C4-C13)
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Published: October 2012
Major applications for plasticizer alcohols include:
- Acrylate esters
- Solvent uses
- Lube oil additives
Demand for most downstream markets for plasticizer alcohols is greatly influenced by general economic conditions. As a result, demand for plasticizer alcohols largely follows the patterns of the leading world economies. The major end-use markets include construction/remodeling, automotive production and original equipment manufacture (OEM).
The following pie chart shows world consumption of plasticizer alcohols:
Plasticizers are the largest end-use market for plasticizer alcohols, accounting for approximately 45% of world consumption in 2012, down from 48.5% in 2008. Plasticizers will remain the largest application; however, their global share has declined consistently as a result of stronger demand for plasticizer alcohols in acrylate/methacrylate and acetate esters. Plasticizer-producing regions, such as the United States and Western Europe, are experiencing moderate growth rates, while Japan is expected to see slightly declining growth for plasticizers. The plasticizers market in China is forecast to grow rapidly during 2012–2018. World consumption of plasticizer alcohols for plasticizers is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 3.8% during 2011–2018, mainly as a result of strong growth in China.
In 2012, 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and n-butanol accounted for nearly 74% of world consumption of plasticizer alcohols, up from 70% in 2008, largely as a result of increased consumption of both alcohols in acrylate esters. Significant consumption growth for both alcohols will continue during 2012–2018; however, n-butanol is forecast to surpass 2-EH consumption during 2013–2014. This is partly a result of the substitution of DEHP, the main plasticizer derived from 2-EH, with other plasticizers derived from other plasticizer alcohols, such as isononyl alcohol and increasing use of 2-propylheptanol.
Asia (including Japan), Europe and North America are the largest markets for plasticizer alcohols, accounting for nearly 95% of world demand in 2012. Demand for plasticizer alcohols in the United States is expected to grow at a moderate rate (2.0% per year) during 2011–2018. Western European demand will grow at 1.9% while markets in Central and Eastern Europe are expected to grow at a higher rate of 2.3% annually. The market in Japan will experience no growth. Chinese consumption is forecast to experience 7.0% average annual growth during 2011–2018; consumption in other Asia is expected to grow at 2.0% annually during the same period.
Stricter environmental regulations may affect and/or limit the use of phthalates. Consumption of several phthalates is forecast to diminish because of limits on use; they will be replaced largely by other phthalates, benzoates, aliphatics and specialty plasticizers.