Glycerine has more than 1,500 end-uses. Pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, and cosmetics account for around 28%; tobacco 15%; foods 13 %; and polyether polyols for urethanes 11%. The remainder is used for alkyd resins, cellophanes, explosives and other miscellaneous uses throughout industry.
There are three basic types of glycerine, based upon derivation – tallow-based, vegetable-based and synthetic. Crude Glycerine is at least 80% pure and is almost always refined to further points of purity up to 99%
Lower grades of tallow-based glycerine are usually designated for polyols and alkyd resins markets, while higher grades – with purities up to 95.5% and 99% pure – compete with vegetable and synthetic glycerine. In Europe and the US, vegetable-derived glycerine products for food, cosmetics, and toothpaste uses are popular . The US is the largest tallow-based market in the world.
Vegetable glycerine is derived from natural oils such as coconut, palm kernel oil and palm stearin.
Synthetic glycerine is made by only one producer, Dow Chemical, and is not regarded as influencing the wider glycerine market. Therefore, it is not considered in the pricing assessments. The synthetic product is generally preferred for certain drug and pharmaceutical applications.
To find out more Glycerine Methodology November 2012