The global levulinic acid market size was valued at USD 80.7 million in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% from 2023 to 2030. The growth is attributed to superior properties of levulinic acid derivatives over their synthetic counterparts. Furthermore, the market is likely to grow on account of the higher product adoption by consumers. The production of low-cost levulinic acid by manufacturers in Asia Pacific and Europe is expected to drive market growth.
Levulinic acid, also known as 4-oxopentanoic acid, is an organic compound that is classified as a keto acid. Its physical form is a white crystalline solid and is soluble in water, ethanol, and diethyl ether, but is insoluble in aliphatic hydrocarbons. In recent years, the need for sustainability has constantly driven the chemical industry towards exploring renewable chemistry and biotechnology to develop products from bio-based sources. These products are developed with the objective of using them as “platforms” for manufacturing a host of industrial and specialty chemicals to replace their synthetic counterparts.
Levulinic acid has long since been identified as such a platform chemical. As a result of this, in spite of its relatively small market size, it has been the subject of significant R&D to act as a precursor to specialty chemicals including fuel additives such as Methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), pesticides such as D-amino levulinic acid (DALA), Diphenolic Acid (DPA) and so on. The technology to produce bio-based levulinic acid is not very complicated, with the most widely used approach being the dehydrative treatment of biomass or carbohydrates with acid. Other key technologies include hydrolysis of acetyl succinate esters, acid hydrolysis of furfuryl alcohol, and by oxidation of ketones with ozone. Presently, levulinic acid finds applications in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics, food additives, and minor uses in nylons, synthetic rubbers, and plastics.
Government policies concerning the production of levulinic acid are favorable owing to the rising environmental concerns and sustainable economic growth. These policies often reflect the strategies related to comparative advantages and the country’s priorities. It aims to develop bioeconomy by promoting public procurement, job generation, and bringing transition from linear to the circular economy.
Levulinic acid market is expected to be restrained by the threat of synthetic chemical alternatives. The market is marked by significant supply and demand gap due to which end users opt for synthetic alternatives of levulinic acid. Synthetic chemical alternatives are easily available and are present in more diverse forms in chemicals market, whereas levulinic acid is a bio-based product and its demand-supply gap does not have high penetration in developing economies.
Levulinic acid producers operate through their manufacturing plants located in closely to raw material source. Moreover, companies involved in the production of levulinic acid and its raw materials are involved in the sales and distribution of the product via a large network of distributors spread across major consuming regions in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
The acid hydrolysis segment dominated the market with more than 60% of the total revenue share in 2022. The highest share is attributed to rise in treating of waste material. The process of acid hydrolysis involves treating the biomass or waste material with an acid, such as sulfuric acid, at high temperature and pressure. This breaks down the cellulose or hemicellulose into its constituent sugars, which can then be further processed to produce levulinic acid.
Specifically, during acid hydrolysis, the acid catalyzes the hydrolysis of the cellulose or hemicellulose into smaller sugars, such as glucose and xylose. These sugars can then undergo further reactions to produce levulinic acid. One common pathway is the acid-catalyzed dehydration of fructose to form hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), followed by the acid-catalyzed oxidation of HMF to form levulinic acid.
The bio fine process has gained significant interest in the levulinic acid industry due to its potential to produce levulinic acid from a wide range of biomass feedstocks, including agricultural waste, forest residues, and energy crops. This process is also considered to be environmentally friendly, as it uses renewable resources and generates less waste compared to traditional chemical processes.
The cosmetics application dominated the market with highest revenue share with more than 28% in 2022. This is attributed owing to the usage of product as a preservative and pH adjuster in cosmetics products. As a preservative, levulinic acid has antimicrobial properties and can help to extend the shelf life of cosmetics by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. It is often used in combination with other preservatives to create a broad-spectrum preservative system. In addition to its preservative properties, levulinic acid is also used as a pH adjuster in cosmetics. It can be used to lower the pH of a product, which can help to stabilize certain ingredients and improve the overall effectiveness of the formulation.
Plasticizer is estimated to emerge as major application segment driving growth of the market. The increase in consumer demand for safe plasticizer and harmful effects on health of phthalate based plasticizer expected to drive the market for levulinic acid over the forecast period. In addition, favorable government policies and regulations towards bio-based plasticizers and stringent regulations on use of phthalates is expected to drive the market growth.
One of the most important applications of levulinic acid in the pharmaceutical industry is in the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the central nervous system. GABA is used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders, epilepsy, and hypertension. Levulinic acid is used as a starting material for the synthesis of GABA through a series of chemical reactions.
Europe region dominated the market with more than 50% of the total revenue share in 2022. This is attributed to the favorable government regulations, substantial production capacities, easy availability of raw materials, and early adoption of bio-based chemicals.
The Asia Pacific region has experienced growing demand for levulinic acid owing to various government policies regarding environmental protection coupled with shift of consumer preferences toward bio-based products. Expanding bio-based plastic industry along with increasing adoption of bio-fuels concepts is projected to drive the growth of the market in Asia Pacific.
Being a leader of industrial biotechnology, the U.S. has a significant share of the market. Implementation of the BioPreferred program by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has fueled the sales of bio-based products, which, in turn, has propelled the demand for levulinic acid in the region. The market in Canada and Mexico is also projected to grow at a healthy rate owing to increasing demand for bio-based products coupled with various government initiatives supporting the production of levulinic acid.
The global market is fragmented with the presence of numerous global and regional players. Some of the prominent players in the global levulinic acid market include:
Biofine Technology LLC
Hebei Langfang Triple Well Chemicals Co. Ltd
Hebei Shijiazhuang Worldwide Furfural & Furfuryl Alcohol Furan Resin Co. Ltd.
Jiangsu Yancheng China Flavor Chemicals Co. Ltd
Shijiazhuang Pharmaceutical Group Ouyi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd
Shanghai Apple Flavor & Fragrance Co. Ltd
Market size value in 2023
USD 83.7 million
Revenue forecast in 2030
USD 151.5 million
CAGR of 8.2% from 2023 to 2030
Base year for estimation
2018 - 2021
2023 - 2030
Volume in tons, revenue in USD million, and CAGR from 2023 to 2030
Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
Process, application, region
North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa
U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; UK; France; Italy; Spain; China; India; Japan; South Korea; Brazil, Argentina; Saudi Arabia; South Africa
Key companies profiled
Segetis; Biofine Technology LLC; DuPont; Hebei Langfang Triple Well Chemicals Co. Ltd; Hebei Shijiazhuang Worldwide Furfural & Furfuryl Alcohol Furan Resin Co. Ltd.; Jiangsu Yancheng China Flavor Chemicals Co. Ltd; Shijiazhuang Pharmaceutical Group Ouyi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd; Shanghai Apple Flavor & Fragrance Co. Ltd.
Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional, and segment scope.
Pricing and purchase options
Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options
This report forecasts revenue growth at a global, regional, country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2018 to 2030. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global levulinic acid market report on the basis of process, application, and region:
Process Outlook (Volume, Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)
Application Outlook (Volume, Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)
Regional Outlook (Volume, Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
b. The global levulinic acid market size was estimated at USD 80.7 million in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 83.8 million in 2023.
b. The global levulinic acid market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.2% from 2023 to 2030 to reach USD 151.5 million by 2030.
b. Europe dominated the levulinic acid market with a share of 51.5% in 2022. This is attributable to rising demand to produce downstream products of the chemicals.
b. Some key players operating in the levulinic acid market include Segetis, Biofine, DuPont, Hebei Langfang Triple Well Chemicals Co., Ltd., Hebei Shijiazhuang.
b. Key factors that are driving the market growth include increasing demand for levulinic acid, especially in pesticides, solvents, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics industries.
NEED A CUSTOM REPORT?
We can customize every report - free of charge - including purchasing stand-alone sections or country-level reports, as well as offer affordable discounts for start-ups & universities. Contact us now
"The quality of research they have done for us has been excellent."