19 October 2009 15:41 [Source: Chemical Report]
The main uses for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) is in the production of plasticisers, coatings, adhesives and other speciality chemicals.
The largest market for 2-EH has been the plasticiser dioctyl phthalate (DOP) which is used in the manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. An issue for 2-EH producers is that DOP has been dogged by health hazard and environmental concerns. In ?xml:namespace>
As a result, producers have been developing alternative plasticisers. For example, BASF has switched from 2-EH to 2-propylheptanol (2-PH) to make a plasticiser called di-isononyl-cyclohexane dicarboxylate (DINCH) for use in sensitive applications where exposure to toxicological and exposure issues are of concern. DINCH has received approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for use in food contact applications such as cling film, tubes and sealants. Citrates, or citric acid esters, are also being used as plasticisers for PVC products.
Other plasticisers such as trioctyl trimellitate, dioctyl adipate and dioctyl terephthalate can be made from 2-EH and the corresponding acid. It is also used to make heavy metal salts to serve as thermal stabilizers for PVC.
However, a growing area for 2-EH has been its use in the manufacture of acrylate and methacrylate esters. Their principal markets are acrylic emulsion polymers for pressure-sensitive adhesives, textiles and surface coatings, which includes high-solids automotive paints. Demand for waterborne acrylic products that replace organic solvent-based products is being driven by increasingly stringent air emission regulations.
There are a number of other uses for 2-EH. It is used as a low volatility solvent for resins, waxes, animal fats, vegetable oils, disinfectants and insecticidal sprays, and petroleum derivatives. 2-EH derivatives are used as an additive for diesel fuel to reduce emissions and to improve the performance of lube oils and mining chemicals. It can be used in very low concentrations for aqueous anti-foam formulations used in the textiles and paper industries. 2-EH is used in the production of the diester of maleic acid, which is a starting material for surfactants, while it is a feedstock for 2-ethylhexyl sulphate for use as a surfactant for electrolytes.
The global recession means that 2-EH is well supplied worldwide. Total production/consumption is estimated to reach a little over 2.8m tonnes in 2009, giving average utilization rates of just above 80%, according to UK-based consultant Tecnon OrbiChem.
New capacity is planned to come on-stream in
Demand for 2-EH in
As a result, DOP consumption will decline in the
Updated: September 2009. Source: ICB Chemical Profile, 20 July 2009.
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