Ethoxylates in general are primary non-ionic surfactants. They are the second-largest downstream sector of ethylene oxide (EO) after ethylene glycols.
Alcohol ethoxylates (AE), a key type of ethoxylates, is the second-largest commodity surfactant by market volume after linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) and the largest non-ionic surfactant. It is also the largest downstream sector of fatty alcohols.
AE can be broadly classified into natural (oleochemical-based) and synthetic (petrochemical-based) grades. The synthetic AE market is limited in Asia, however, because of a lack of capacity in the region, unlike in Europe and the US. Natural-grade AE, also known as fatty AE (FAE), dominates in Asia because of the ample availability of feedstock fatty alcohols.
Ethoxylates are consumed in the home and personal-care, agrochemicals, textile, lubricant and paper industries. AE can be used directly as surfactants or as a feedstock for SLES production, the main workhorse of natural surfactants.
ICIS quotes ethoxylates prices in Asia.
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