Glycerine demand to rise from new uses - producers

08 February 2007 21:34  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Demand for glycerine will strengthen in the next 12-24 months due to increased substitution of glycerine for other products, and to new applications, producers said on Thursday.

“A large amount of research for finding new applications is starting to have an effect,” said Carol Collier, oleochemicals marketing manager at Uniqema. “Demand increases could start to actually outpace the refined glycerine increases in the next 12 months.”

Cargill and ADM are expecting to begin production of glycerine-based polyols by 2008. Cargill did not disclose any capacity figures and said it was still looking for a specific site for the plant’s propylene glycol (PG) production.

“We have several sites in mind around the globe and will decide soon which will be the first of several plants globally,” said Jim Stoppert, senior director for Cargill Industrial Bioproducts.

Meanwhile, Washington-based Senergy Chemical is already producing industrial-grade and pharmaceutical-grade PG derived from glycerine, in an undisclosed location in the southeastern US.

The plant started operations in November and has an initial capacity of 60m lb/year, which is expandable to 100m lb/year, according to Galen Suppes of the University of Missouri-Columbia. Suppes developed the glycerine-to-propylene glycol processing technology that Senergy currently uses. 

Solvay says it will start up its 10,000 tonne/year glycerine-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant in France in the first half of this year, while Dow Chemical officials plan to start up a glycerine-based ECH plant in China by 2010.

Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimated the total US market for refined glycerine last year at 400m lb, valued at $157.4m (€120.7m). The firm estimated 2006 refined glycerine consumption worldwide in technical applications at 160,000 tonnes, and predicted growth at a compounded rate of 3%/year.

(Look for the full story on glycerine in the 12 February issue of ICIS Chemical Business Americas)
By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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