Chemical Profile: Adipic acid

23 March 2007 10:58  [Source: ICB]

Adipic acid

Uses


Adipic acid is used in nylon 6,6 fibres and resins, which account for nearly
65% of output. It is also used to produce polyurethanes, as a reactant to
form plasticisers, lubricant components and polyester polyols. Other outlets
are as a food ingredient in gelatins, desserts and other foods that require
acidulation.


Worldwide, about 30% is used in carpets, 13% in manufacturing parts, 12% in
apparel, 11% in plasticisers and lubricants, 7% in transportation
bodies/parts, 2% in non-nylon polyamides, 2% in packaging and 1% each for
pulp/paper, transportation seats/furnishings, lubricants and food.

 

Supply/demand


Global capacity stood at 2.99m tonnes/year in 2006, says TranTech. Nearly
1.02m tonnes/year was in western Europe, followed closely by the
US with 1m
tonnes/year. Third is Asia-Pacific (excluding
Japan
), with 493,000
tonnes/year.
Japan, Canada and Latin America
had capacities of 172,000
tonnes/year, 170,000 tonnes/year and 80,000 tonnes/year, respectively.


Planned and unplanned shutdowns in
Europe and Asia kept supply tight last
year, while demand into nylon and non-nylon sectors was strong.


Demand is split by 33.3%, 32%, 18.8%, 5.5%, 5%, 2.6% and 1.9% in western
Europe, the US, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Canada, Latin America and eastern
Europe, respectively. The
US was the largest net exporter in 2006, with
59,500 tonnes, and Asia-Pacific was the largest net importer, with 52,000
tonnes. 


Pricing


Price depends on purity. March contracts for industrial grade, with a
maximum water content of 0.2%, were between €1.35–1.45/kg in
Europe, 64–74
cents/lb in the
US, and $1.34–1.5/kg in Asia.


Technology


Most production is by the liquid phase nitric acid oxidation of KA oil, a
cyclohexanone-cyclohexanol mix. Asahi Chemical makes adipic acid by air
oxidation/hydration of cyclohexane with boric acid to cyclohexanol, followed
by oxidation with nitric acid. This process is licensed to China Shenma.
Adipic acid is also made by the hydrocyanation of butadiene to
pentenenitrile mixture, followed by hydroisomerisation to adiponitrile, then
hydrogenation.


Nitrous oxide (NOx) is generated as a byproduct, and emissions are a major
environmental concern. Although global adipic acid demand and capacity is
increasing, NOx emissions will continue to decline substantially as
producers carry on installing pollution abatement technologies.


Health and safety


Adipic acid is a white, crystalline, odourless powder. It is combustible and
finely dispersed particles form explosive mixtures in air. It decomposes on
heating, producing volatile acidic vapours. It is an irritant, and
inhalation may cause asthmatic reactions.


Outlook


Global demand is forecast to grow by 6%/year to 2010. Expected annual growth
is 12% in Asia-Pacific, 8.5% in Asia/Middle East, 8% in Australia/New
Zealand, 6% in Latin America and eastern Europe, 4.6% in western Europe and
4.3% in the US.


This year in China, Xinjiang Dushanzi Tianil and ExxonMobil/Sinopec/Aramco
will start plants of 70,000 tonnes/year and 20,000 tonnes/year,
respectively. But capacity will be short by 2010 as poor profitability has
kept investment lagging demand.

 

 

GLOBAL ACIPIC ACID CAPACITY ’000 TONNES/YEAR

Company

 

Location

 

Capacity

 

Adarsh Chemical

 

Surat, India

 

1

 

Asahi Chemical

 

Mizushima, Japan

 

170

 

Azot Severodonetsk

 

Severodonetsk, Ukraine

 

 

28

Basf

 

Ludwigshafen, Germany

 

260

 

China Shenma Group

 

Jiujiang, China

 

90

 

Inolex

 

Hopewell, -Virginia, US

 

 

18

Jiangsu Euiomoda Paint

 

Wuxi, China

 

0.5

 

Koch

 

Maitland, -Canada

 

170

 

 

Orange,
Texas, US




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