Global Markets for Oleochemical Fatty Acids

Published - Jan 2013| Analyst - John Harkin| Code - CHM062A
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Report Highlights

The global market for natural fatty acids was valued at $7.2 billion in 2011 and $6.8 billion in 2012. This market is projected to reach $13 billion by 2017, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% through the five–year forecast period of 2012 through 2017.

Report Includes

  • An overview of the global markets for oleochemicals, including natural fatty acids, biodiesel and methyl esters, glycerine, as well as derivatives such as soaps, dimers, branched fatty acids, and fatty alcohols.
  • Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2008 through 2012, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2017.
  • Examination of applications by end market, such as household, personal care, oil field, and lubricants.
  • Discussion of current and potential legislation that will affect the industry.
  • Coverage of consumer trends that drive many of the end markets, such as cleaning, beauty, and food.
  • Comprehensive company profiles of major players.

Report Scope

As the social condition of citizens in the developing nations rises, so too will the demand from these communities for more premium and westernized products, reflecting the higher standard of living status.

Oleochemicals, such as fatty acids, will be a vital link in the supply chain as their outstanding functionality and versatility make them ideal to be used in a multitude of applications.  On top of this the high reactivity of this acid enables the production of a range of derivatives that can be tailored to meet the needs of a number of end using industries, working with the formulators to produce the ideal blend of functionality and performance.

The range of derivatives is dependent on the reaction site used.  Derivatives can be produced using the acid functionality such as saponification, esterification, ethoxylation, or amination while derivatives based on the unsaturation include isomerization, dimerization, epoxidation, and hydrogenation acids. 

Fatty acids and their derivatives have a range of functionality that can be used to support the move away from the petrochemical based platform that is reliant on the rapidly reducing fossil fuel industry since all the easy oil has been extracted and the remaining oil is more inaccessible, more remote and located in more inhospitable environments.  While the equivalent renewable bio refinery type platform has a long way to go to be commercially viable and suitable to replace the petrochemical platform, oleochemicals will be a major contributor to such development.  For instance the ester derivatives have the functionality of surfactancy, lubricity and solvency, which deliver the following benefits:

  • The ability to reduce the surface tension between a polar and an apolar medium, which is important for cleaning and emulsification.
  • The ability to reduce friction, which is needed for lubricant applications.
  • The ability to dissolve chemicals, which is key to providing a greener solvent substitution for cleaning.

This report provides an understanding of how the composition of various fats and oils transform into the range, quality and types of acids produced and the applications for which those acids can be used.  It explores the various attributes of different acid types and how these cuts compete with synthetic formed products from the petrochemical route and the major applications outlets. 

This study will reveal the developments and research that demonstrate the green credentials of the oleochemical family and how these credentials are changing the environmental profile of the chemical using industry.  This is helpful to the transformation from that of a major polluter to an industry working in harmony with its environment to meet the needs of the current generation without detrimental effects on its surroundings that would impact the generations to come. 

The study is divided into a number of sections and covers the following fatty acid types:

  • Stearic acid.
  • Distilled fatty acids.
  • Fractionated fatty acids.
  • Polyunsaturated acids including tall oil fatty acids.
  • Oleic acids.

The fatty acid oleochemical business is important for the following reasons:

  • It is a major source of surfactants, which are starting materials for the detergent, cleaning and personal care industries.
  • The functionality and performance combination enables formulators to deliver tailored solutions to meet a variety of customers’ needs.
  • It is an important cornerstone in the development of a sustainable chemical platform to reduce the reliance on fossil fuel based chemistry.
  • It promotes the development of green chemistry that is environmentally friendly.
  • Conversion of solid fats and liquid vegetable oils into a straight chain saturated or unsaturated carboxylic acid can be used in edible and non edible markets.

Analyst Credentials

Ronald van Rossum has more than 25 years of experience providing information management services to the chemical industry.  For 10 years, he was a global information manager, delivering a wide range of services within the number one global oleochemical manufacturer.  He is an expert information searcher and speaks several languages.  He is also the co–author of BCC Reports CHM039B Oilfield Process Chemicals: Global Markets and CHM046B Global Market for Catalyst Regeneration.

John Joe Harkin is a Ph.D. chemist who graduated from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, and is an independent business intelligence consultant.  He has 21 years of experience providing business insight to a range of companies in the chemical and related industries.  The majority of his industrial career was spent supporting business development activities on a global basis for the market leading oleochemical firm at that time.  He is also the co–author of BCC Reports CHM039B Oilfield Process Chemicals: Global Markets and CHMO46B Global Market for Catalyst Regeneration.

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