Renascent use isopropanol as effective solvent cleaning agent boost demand incoming years

Renascent use of isopropanol as an effective solvent and cleaning agent to boost demand in the coming years

5:29 AM, 6th September 2018

Isopropanol has gained immense significance as an effective solvent across various industrial sectors in light of its complete miscibility in most of the solvents including water. Isopropanol has been deemed as an accurate solvent for compounds such as natural & epoxy resins, alkaloids, ethyl cellulose, and essential oils. Fast evaporating property of isopropanol that leaves zero oil traces, and its lower toxicity, coupled with the estimated future phase out of ethanol will continue to augur well for its market growth in the near future.

On account of its miscibility in non-polar solvents, isopropanol has gained traction as an essential prerequisite for cleaning pores present in electronic components. The compound witnessed robust demand as a popular cleaner in the semiconductor and electronics industries, as it readily dissolves ionic flux residues, light organic contaminants, and dirt particles. Referred to rubbing alcohol, isopropanol is increasingly being used as a sterilizer and disinfectant in home applications.

Prospects of the isopropanol market will remain modest, as the industry matures and witnesses confinements in innovations & developments. It is estimated that nearly 3750 thousand tons of isopropanol will be sold worldwide by 2028-end.

Uptake of Electronic- & Pharmaceutical-Grade Variants

Isopropanol forms an integral ingredient in the production of rubbing alcohol, disinfecting pads, and hand sanitizer. The compound also serves as an efficacious skin soother, and pain reliever. Banking on these attributes of isopropanol, pharmaceutical companies highly seek its pharmaceutical-grade variant for use as a solvent during the production of pharmaceutical products that comprise 67-70 percent isopropanol in water. In addition, isopropanol observes robust adoption in the DNA extraction process during research & development activities of the pharmaceutical industry.

Semiconductor- or electronic-grade isopropanol is sought-after for use as an exclusive cleaner and solvent in the industry. Demand for electronic-grade isopropanol has witnessed a significant surge, backed by the proliferation in semiconductor ICs and consumer electronics. Leading stakeholders are adopting capacity extension strategies to keep up with the rising demand. In 2017, Sumitomo Chemical commenced construction of new plant for production of high purity isopropanol in China.

Cosmetics Offers Significant Growth Path

Isopropanol, being a fast evaporating chemical compound, is largely used in various cosmetics and personal care products. Demand for isopropanol continues to witness a spur in the production of personal care items such as eye makeup products, bath products, aftershave lotions, cleansing products and other skin, nail and hair care products. Increasing use of isopropanol as a superior dissolving agent is likely to push the adoption of the chemical in the cosmetic industry. It is largely used to dissolve other ingredients in personal care and cosmetic products. In addition, isopropanol is used to reduce the thickness of liquids and minimize the possibility of foam forming, when shaken, in finished cosmetics products.

Automotive use to Support Overall Market Growth

Isopropanol is one of the major ingredients in gas dryer fuel additives. In fuel tanks, large quantities of water can cause freezing problems in supply lines after its separation from gasoline. Isopropanol facilitates solubilizing of water in gasoline that prevents it from entering supply lines consequently avoiding freezing of supply lines. Isopropanol is also used as a deicing agent particularly sold in aerosol cans and used in door locks or windshield deicing in vehicles. Moreover, its significance in removing water from brake fluids in hydraulic braking systems to avoid brake fluid and brake pad contamination has further pushed the demand for isopropanol use in the automotive space.

Price Fluctuations to Remain a Key Growth Deterrent

Isopropanol witnessed a notable rise in domestic and spot prices in first quarter of 2017, on account of increasing costs of feedstock propylene. Amid broadening demand-supply gap, major isopropanol manufacturers that include LyondellBasell, Monument, Shell, and ExxonMobil independently raised their isopropanol costs, and the trend continued in 2018, with these stakeholders announcing a price hike of 5 cents/lb. Isopropanol industry’s future growth will be significantly affected from these price fluctuations. Additionally, growing crude oil costs driven by the prevailing oil crisis will continue to influence the expansion of the isopropanol market.

A key trend being observed in the isopropanol market is increasing use of the compound as a biofuel. Recent studies conducted to devise engineered synthetic pathways to produce isopropanol from microbes point at the potential of isopropanol’s used as a biofuel to replace gasoline. In addition, isopropanol’s production using lignocellulosic waste has represented a lucrative avenue for economically-viable manufacturing of the compound. The imminent era of green chemicals, which promotes adoption of bio-based chemicals, will significantly complement such biological production methods of isopropanol in the upcoming years. Isopropanol market in North America and Europe represents a consolidated landscape, while in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) the market is ruled by small and medium-sized enterprises.

Emerging Economies Showcase Momentous Demand

Isopropanol market is likely to witness a meteoric growth in the emerging economies of China and India in the forthcoming years. The pre-eminence of the pharmaceutical and personal care and cosmetic industries are expected to contribute to the growth of the isopropanol market in these countries. Moreover, demand for isopropanol is likely to witness a significant rise on the back of progressive fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in these regions.

The demand for isopropanol in the developed regions has also been supportive in pushing the market growth. European countries, particularly Germany, UK and France, have shown high inclination apropos for adoption of isopropanol. However, allegations with respect to the export of chemical compounds used in the production of sarin nerve gas on major stakeholders involved in the isopropanol market, such as AAE and the Belgian chemical Group, have challenged the growth of the isopropanol market in these countries. However, the paints and coatings industry in the region is expected to offset this negative setback from the chemical sector and is likely to drive the demand for isopropanol.

Source: Fact.MR

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