01 May 2006 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Acrylic acid’s major derivative is acrylic esters which account for more than half of world demand. Crude (unrefined) acrylic acid is used captively and almost exclusively to make acrylates and other derivatives used in the paint, paper, textile, adhesives, speciality coatings and ink industries.
Glacial (distilled) acrylic acid is used in superabsorbent polymers (SAP) whose largest use is in disposable baby diapers, and detergent polymers. Smaller volumes are consumed in polyacrylates used as thickeners, dispersants and rheology controllers.
World markets had a slower year in 2005. New capacity started up in China and the technical problems that plagued plants and dried-up supply in 2004 were resolved.
Current demand in Europe is said to be reasonable. Some improvement was seen in March and April and this has brought the plentiful supply seen in quarter one more into balance. New capacity went online last month at StoHaas in Germany, and Arkema will lift output in France by 15% by the end of 2006. Dow Chemical sold its SAP business to Degussa in February. It will supply glacial acrylic acid to Degussa under a long-term agreement
Production in western Europe hit 828 000 tonne last year, up from 765 000 tonne in 2004, according to Tecnon OrbiChem. East European output rose by 10 000 to 61 000 tonne in 2005. West European demand grew 20 000 tonne to 789 000 tonne in 2005 while east European consumption rose to 38 200 tonne from nearly 31 000 tonne in 2004.
Quarter two contracts have dropped by some €80–120/tonne on quarter one and are reported in the range €1500–1600/tonne. Customers on formula-related contracts have accepted some of the €40/tonne rise in second quarter propylene costs. Players say that margins are being squeezed but believe that prices have reached a floor. Spot sales are being done mainly between €1450–1500/tonne FD.
Most production is based on the gas phase catalytic oxidation of propylene via acrolein. The reaction can be carried out in single or two-step processes, but the latter is favoured because of higher yields. The oxidation of propylene produces acrolein, acrylic acid, acetaldehyde and carbon oxides. Acrylic acid from the primary oxidation can be recovered while the acrolein is fed to a second step to make acrylic acid. Purification can be carried out by azeotropic distillation.
LG’s process uses a new reactor design and purification technique that gives enhanced production efficiency and stability. Supported by Engelhard, Rohm & Haas is developing a process that uses propane instead of propylene, which could offer significant cost savings.
Health and safety
Acrylic acid is a clear liquid with an acrid odour. It is volatile and flammable, very corrosive and the vapour is a strong irritant.
Several projects are planned in China, the world’s fastest growing region. Tecnon OrbiChem says that if all projects are realised, Chinese capacity will rise to 1.3m tonne/year by 2008 versus demand of 600 000 tonne/year. Current capacity is 727 000 tonne/year (including Taiwan and Ningbo’s new unit due in August). Projects may be reconsidered or delayed, mainly because of the propylene shortage in the region and technology issues.
Global demand growth is rated by Tecnon OrbiChem at 3.7%/year, with China at 7.8%/year. West European growth is just 1.6%/year. BASF plans a second 160 000 tonne/year plant in Antwerp, Belgium to feed extra SAP output. Russia’s Akrilat is looking to raise capacity to 60 000 tonne/year.
Profile last published 3 May 2004
|American Acryl*||Bayport, Texas, US||120|
|Freeport, Texas, US||230|
|BASF Petronas||Kuantan, Malaysia||160|
|Beijing Eastern ?Petrochemical||Beijing, China||70|
|Dow Chemical||Böhlen, Germany||80|
|Clear Lake, Texas, US||290|
|Taft, Louisiana, US||110|
|Formosa Plastics||Kaohsiung, Taiwan||51|
|Idemitsu Petrochemical||Aichi, Japan||50|
|Jiangsu Jurong Chemical||Yancheng, China||95|
|Jilin Petrochemical||Jilin, China||65|
|LG Chem||Naju, South Korea||26|
|Yeochun, S Korea||95|
|Mitsubishi Chemical||Yokkaichi, Japan||110|
|Nippon Shokubai||Himeji, Japan||220|
|Nisshoku TriPolyta Acrylindo||Cilegon, Indonesia||60|
|Oita Chemical||Oita, Japan||60|
|Resolution Speciality ?Materials||Sokolov, ?Czech Republic||55|
|Rohm and Haas||Deer Park, Texas, US||410|
|Sasol Dia Acrylates||Sasolburg, S Africa||80|
|Shanghai Huayi Acrylic Acid||Shanghai, China||30|
|Singapore Acrylic Acid||Pulau Sakra, ?Singapore||60|
|StoHaas Monomer||Deer Park, Texas, US||165|
|* Arkema/NA Industries 50:50 jv|
|** due onstream Aug 2006|
|Source: Tecnon OrbiChem|
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
Sample issue >>
My Account/Renew >>
Register for online access >>
|ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies|
|Download the listing here >>|
Asian Chemical Connections