19 September 1994 00:00 [Source: ICB]
There have been many champions of surfactants based on oleochemicals feedstocks supported by environmental arguments and their consumption has continued to rise as a proportion of surfactants overall.
The latest report* from Hewin International notes this trend is expected to accelerate, bringing with it 'a high probability of a significant relocation, or diversification, of manufacturing centres for basic oleochemicals'.
Many major European, Japanese and US firms have already moved into Southeast Asia, heralded by investments by companies such as Henkel, Unilever, Akzo, Kao, NJC and Procter & Gamble. By 1995, Hewin estimates the region is expected to produce 600 000-700 000 tonne/year of fatty acids and at least 30% of world methyl esters.
The most important motivation for these moves is the increased use of palm, palm kernel and coconut oils, production of which has been growing at over 10%/year or higher. The trend to use vegetable fats is also being supported by developments in technology in three areas, says Hewin:
Other developments are expected to result in the emergence of true oleo-chemical substitutes to LAB, the substitution of DSDMAC by the more biodegradable ester quats as raw materials for production of softeners, and the partial replacement of traditional surfactants by natural-based alkylpolyglycoside (APG) in detergent and personal care products. The report show that world production of basic oleochemicals in 1993 was 6.48m tonne/year, with fatty acids (2.75m tonne/year) and fatty alcohols (1.15m tonne/year) accounting for the major part of this. Their use in detergents breaks down as follows: household 33%, personal care 20%, institutional and industrial 7%, and industrial uses 40%.
* The world's oleochemical industry - feedstocks, derivatives and end products by Hewin International. Tel: 31 20 6422322, Fax: 31 20 6424478.
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