Global Propylene Oxide Market - 2022-2029
The global propylene oxides market size was worth US$ XX million in 2021 and is estimated to reach US$ XX million by 2029, growing at a CAGR of XX% during the forecast period (2022-2029).
Propylene oxide is a colorless, volatile liquid organic compound represented by the chemical formula CH3CHCH2O. Propylene oxide is derived from propylene; an unsaturated organic compound derived from propane. Propylene oxide is produced on an industrial scale through two main processes, the chlorohydrin process and the oxidation of the propylene process. The main use of propylene oxide is to convert it into polyether polyol, which is used in the production of polyurethane plastics.
The demand for propylene oxides is mainly driven by the rising demand from end-use applications, especially polyurethane plastics. It is the most important driver for the market. The toxic nature of propylene oxide is a key factor in limiting the growth of this market.
Increasing demand from end-use applications
The largest application of propylene oxide is its conversion to polyether polyol, which is used to produce polyurethane plastics. Propylene oxide is used to sterilize fumigant to reduce mold, yeast and bacteria in nuts and cocoa powder. It is also a niche used as a sterilizer for medical equipment. Another niche use of propylene oxide is to modify food starch through minute concentrations.
Another major application of propylene oxide is in the production of propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is used to produce polyester resins, humectants, solvents and plasticizers. Propylene oxide is reacted with glycols, glycerine, alcohols and phenols to produce functional fluids such as lubricants, heat transfer fluids and hydraulic fluids. The increasing demand for end-use applications is driving the growth of the global propylene oxide market.
Toxic nature of propylene oxide
Propylene oxide is hazardous to human health. Acute exposure to propylene oxide irritates humans' eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. Chronic exposure to propylene oxide causes inflammatory lesions in the nasal tract, trachea and lungs. Skin contact with propylene oxide, even in dilute amounts, causes skin irritation and necrosis in humans.
The Global Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a World Health Organization (WHO) body, classifies propylene oxide as a group 2B carcinogen, indicating that it is possibly carcinogenic in humans. The health hazards are particularly prominent in the vicinity of chemical manufacturing facilities. The toxic nature of propylene oxide is a key challenge for the growth of this market.
COVID-19 impact analysis
The global propylene oxide market experienced uneven impacts on value chains in production and sales in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The production of propylene glycol and polyether polyol, two of the most important end-uses for propylene oxide, saw steep declines in production due to various governmental restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A collapse in demand for end-use applications for polyether polyols and propylene glycols also decreased demand. The pandemic brought a complete halt to global commercial air travel and passenger road travel. It led to a steep decrease in demand for propylene glycol, which is mainly used as an antifreeze agent. Polyether polyol, which is used for the production of polyurethane, also experienced a significant drop in demand due to the decrease in the production of polyurethane end-use applications. The overall demand for propylene oxide remained low throughout 2020 and is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels before early to mid-2021.
The short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been relatively hard for the chemical industry. Major companies have cut operating expenses and capital expenditure in response to the pandemic. The pandemic will have a negligible impact on the medium to long-term growth of the global propylene oxide market since companies are expected to gradually ramp up capacity utilization as economic activity returns to pre-pandemic levels. The demand for propylene oxides remains strong and is expected to grow gradually in the coming years.
The global propylene oxides market is segmented into production process, application, end-user and region. The propylene oxides market is segmented into chlorohydrin process, styrene monomer process, co-product process, cumene process and hydrogen peroxide process based on the production process.
The chlorohydrin process is leading in this segmentation, as it is the most widely used process for the industrial production of propylene oxide. Propylene chlorohydrin is an isomer that is colorless and soluble in organic solvents. The compound is formed from the reaction of the aqueous solution of chlorine with propene. Propylene chlorohydrin is then treated with lime to obtain propylene oxide. The hydrogen peroxide process is the second most common production process for propylene oxide.
Asia-Pacific is leading in the global propylene oxide market. The region accounts for the largest market share, primarily due to major emerging markets such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and developed markets such as Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Some of the largest propylene oxide producers and consumers are located in this region.
China is also the largest market for propylene oxide globally. Propylene oxide is mostly used to produce polyurethane plastics which have a wide variety of applications. China has the largest construction industry globally and is expected to add US$1.2 trillion to global construction output by 2030. Rigid polyurethane foam is used as insulating foam, construction sealant and fire stoppers in high-rise buildings.
China also is the largest automobile producer globally, with more than 20 million passenger vehicles and 5 million commercial vehicles produced in 2020. Polyurethane foam has extensive use in automobiles, such as interior trims and automotive seat cushions. Electronic components such as circuit boards are protected from the environment by enclosing them in polyurethane. China is the largest manufacturer of electronics globally. The Asia-Pacific will continue to have the largest market share in the global propylene oxide market.
The global propylene oxide market is competitive due to the availability of a wide variety of companies that supply the growing demand. Some of the major players contributing to the growth in the segment are LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V., Dow, BASF SE, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, AGC Inc., Tokuyama Corporation, Repsol S.A., SKC, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited and Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. The significant players adopt several growth strategies such as new product launches, joint ventures and collaborations, contributing to global growth in the industry.
LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V.
Overview: LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. is a multinational chemicals company with primary interests in producing polyolefins, propylene, ethylene, polyethylene, polypropylene and oxyfuels. The company was formed in 2007 through the merger of Lyndoll Chemical Company and Basell Polyolefins. The company is headquartered in three locations: Houston, U.S., London, UK and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Propylene Oxide is made by the company using the hydrogen peroxide process. In this process, ethylbenzene is reacted with oxygen to form ethylbenzene hydroperoxide. The ethylbenzene hydroperoxide is subsequently used to epoxidize propylene to yield propylene oxide and methyl benzyl alcohol.
Key Developments: In January 2021, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. expanded its entered into a relationship with Sinopec Global Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation by forming a joint venture to build a new propylene oxide and styrene monomer unit under the name Ningbo ZRCC LyondellBasell New Material Company Limited. The venture is planned to cater to the growing demands of the Chinese market.
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The global propylene oxides market report would provide approximately 58 market data tables, 64 figures, and 180 pages.
Target Audience 2022
Specialty chemicals manufacturers
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