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Global glycerol market is expected to be over USD 2billion in terms of revenue over the forecast period. Increasing use of biofuels and oleochemicals is expected to drive market growth. It is non-toxic and nutritious and therefore it is widely used in consumer products. Additionally, it is used in preservatives and food sweeteners depending on their reactions to chemical. New healthcare technologies can provide potential opportunities to the glycerol market. Global consumption was over 2,000 kilo tons in 2013 and is expected to be over 3,400 kilo tons by 2020, growing at CAGR of over 6% for the forecast period. It can be used in production of renewable chemicals opening new avenues for market participants. Factors such as unstable government policies, unpredictable feedstock supply and expensive refining processes are expected to restrict market growth.
Major sources for the glycerol market include biodiesel, fatty acid, fatty alcohols and soap industry. Previously, glycerol was produced by synthetic processes which were uneconomical for large production. Currently biodiesel emerged as the key source for glycerol producing 1400 kilo tons which account over 62% of the global market for 2013. Additionally fatty alcohols are estimated to be fastest growing source for glycerol production at a CAGR of over 8.0%. This growth is due to expansion of transesterification process.
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Glycerol is used in various application segments including personal care, pharmaceutical, food & beverages, alkyd resins, polyether polyols and tobacco humectants. As of 2013, Alkyd resins dominated the market followed by personal care with a market share of 13% and 12% respectively in terms of volume. Glycerol is used in skin products owing to healing properties and nutritive value. Additionally, it is used in health care products owing to sweet taste and laxative property. Growing demand of healthcare and personal care products due to improving lifestyle and awareness is expected to fuel market demand. Polyether polyols segment is growing with the use of sweeteners in food products because glycerol remains unaffected by bacteria causing tooth decay. It is also used for perfume and explosive production.
Downstream Opportunity Insights
Glycerol can be used as potential chemical platform for production of renewable chemicals. This is expected to be an environment friendly and economical alternative. Few chemicals such as propylene glycol, 1-3 propanediol and epichlorohydrin have already undergone process to be manufactured using glycerol.
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Europe has been the largest consumer owing to high demand from pharmaceuticals, food & beverages and personal care. Asia Pacific is estimated to have fastest growth at a CAGR of over 7% in the next six years. The region accounted for over 37% of market volume for the year 2013. As glycerol is used as raw material for the production of propylene glycol and epichlorohydrin, China’s consumption is expected to increase. Additionally owing to growth in paints and coatings market in the Middle East, demand for the glycerol market is estimated to considerably increase.
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