Published June 2015
There are several grades of IPA, including industrial/technical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical (USP), reagent, and electronic. Industrial-grade IPA includes use as an industrial/technical solvent and cleaner and as raw material for derivatives. Direct solvent applications include surface coatings, inks, pesticide formulations, processing solvent in the production of resins, and household cleaners. Cosmetic grade includes cosmetic and personal care products (toiletries) and rubbing alcohol. Pharmaceutical grade includes processing solvent during drug manufacture, use in medical wipes, and some medicinal formulations. Electronic grade includes use in the electronics industry, primarily as a cleaner for printed circuit boards (PCB), flat panel displays (FPD), and other electronic devices.
Consumption of industrial-grade IPA (as a direct solvent and for chemical derivatives) accounted for 77% of total IPA demand in the major consuming regions in 2014, and direct solvent applications accounted for approximately 63% of total industrial-grade demand.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of isopropyl alcohol:
Global IPA-based acetone production has decreased with the increase of phenol capacity (acetone is a coproduct of phenol by the cumene peroxidation process). With IPA-based acetone no longer being produced in North America, Western Europe, or Asia, the market share for this application decreased from 7% in 2008 to less than 1% in 2014.
The IPA market will continue to be oversupplied during 2014-19, especially with global demand growing at an estimated average annual rate of 1.9% through 2019 and capacity growing at an average annual rate of 2.9%.