Global 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) market has witnessed significant growth on account of rising demand for plasticizers in industrial applications. (2-EH) is an organic exo-alcohol produced by a three-step process involving self-condensation, dehydration and hydrogenation of n-butyraldehyde. 2-EH serves as a key ingredient in the manufacture of various chemicals that are used in several end-user industries. Main drivers of the 2-EH market include rapid development in the 2-EH acrylate industry, development of LP Oxo Technology and stringent emission norms which has led to subsequent increase in 2-EH demand.
2-EH can be classified on the basis of application into 2-EH nitrate, 2-EH acrylate, as precursor for manufacturing plasticizers (non-phthalate and phthalate) and others (solvents). Highest demand was generated from plasticizers manufacturing and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. Rising carbon emission levels and concerns for developing fuel-efficiency have presented various opportunities for growth of 2-EH as a fuel and lube additive by serving as a cetane improver in diesel engines. However some restrictions are presented in the form of shrinking area for small capacity plants and environmental regulations. EPA has stipulated stringent guidelines regarding safe handling and disposal of 2-EH due to its harmful health effects such as neurological and developmental issues.
Highest growth is expected to witnessed in the Asia Pacific 2-EH market on account of planned investments in DOTP (dioctyl terephthalate) plants in Taiwan and China. DOTP is widely used in coated fabrics, wall coverings, wire cables and floorings, leading to subsequent rise in2-EH demand. However, environmental and health concerns have led to restrictions on the production of DOTP in other Asian markets such as Korea, Japan and even North America (U.S. and Canada). 2-EH market in Europe also experienced few obstacles on account of restrictions on phthalate plasticizers application; however, the market has gained momentum on account of rising demand by 2-EH acrylate and 2-EH nitrate manufacturers to reduce emission levels. Several European countries such as Germany, Italy, France and Poland generated considerable demand for 2-EH as an alternative emission reducer. Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico also expected to generate moderate 2-EH demand on account of increasing industrialization. Countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are expected to witness significant 2-EH demand for various industrial applications.
Various industry players are adopting technological innovations and capacity expansion strategies to meet demands generated by end-user establishments in several developing countries. Major 2-EH industry players include LG Chem Limited, China National Petroleum Corporation, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Grupa Azoty, Formosa Plastic Group, BASF SE, Elekeiroz S.A., Eastman Chemical Company, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation. The global market is highly consolidated in nature with M&A and capacity expansions being generic strategies employed by companies to strengthen their market presence and vie for leadership.
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