According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.; the global levulinic acid market is projected to achieve a valuation of USD 19.65 million by 2020. Levulinic acid (LA) is an organic compound and classified as keto acid. It is soluble in water, diethyl ether, and ethanol, but is insoluble in aliphatic hydrocarbons. Increasing demand from solvent, pesticide, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries can propel the market over the forecast period (2014 to 2020).
Factors such as growing demand for biochemical across industries and strict guidelines on utilization of petrochemical products that are imposed by various government and environment associations may further propel market over the forecast period. Growing applications of levulinic acid in rubber, nylon, and plastic manufacturing may boost demand in the next few years.
Levulinic acid is extensively used as a substitute for its synthetic counterparts in industrial applications. The chemical industry has constantly been motivated in the direction of accomplishing a sustainable growth with an emphasis on the development of renewable bio-based products. The manufacturing technology for bio-based LA can be simplified by using various techniques such as dehydrative treatment of carbohydrates or biomass with acid, acid hydrolysis reaction of acetyl succinate esters, hydrolysis reaction of furfuryl alcohol, and oxidation reaction of ketones with ozone.
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Levulinic acid market volume share by application, 2013
Levulinic acid is also used in cigarette manufacturing for improved delivery of nicotine in smoke. Component such as 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), acts as a fuel additive, therefore it is used as a fuel extender in the automotive segment. The derivative obtained from the bio-based levulinic acid called as ketal ester is likely to replace all phthalate-based plasticizers, since it is a bio-based product. This factor may lead to high demand in near future with shifting focus of the industry from conventional to green chemicals.
However, the raw materials such as biomass, brewery waste, manure and bagasse are required to produce bio-based levulinic acid. Obtaining these materials at a reasonable price is expected to be a challenge for the market.
The worldwide levulinic acid market can be segmented on the basis of application, downstream potential platform, and region. As per application, the market can be categorized into pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food additives, and cosmetics. In 2013, pharmaceutical and Agriculture sector together accounted for over 66% of the overall market share in terms of volume. Based on downstream potential platform, the market can be classified into delta aminolevulinic acid (DALA), diphenolic acid, methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), and others.
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Geographically, the market can be divided into Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and rest of the world. In 2013, North America dominated the global market with more than 41% of the total market share in terms of volume. The market in the region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period due to existence of the leading manufacturers. In the same year, Europe was the second largest market with around 31% volume share. Asia Pacific is an emerging market for levulinic acid. China is one of the key suppliers, manufactures, and sellers of the product at a comparatively lower price than the companies present in the U.S. and Europe. Hence, he U.S. and Europe based companies prefer importing the product form Chinese suppliers.
Some of the leading companies working in the levulinic acid market include Segetis, DuPont, Biofine Technology LLC, and Shanghai Apple Flavor & Fragrance Co. Ltd. Most leading manufacturers are focusing on research and development activities to develop bio-based products at a low price. Reducing production cost of levulinic acid at competitive levels is a critical factor for the manufacturers.
Recently, Biofine, Inc. has developed a technique for converting the waste cellulose into levulinic acid. It can convert various sources such as municipal solid waste, paper mill sludge, waste wood, unrecyclable waste paper, and agricultural residues into LA. The product obtained from waste cellulose could reduce the use of fossil fuels and the overall cost of manufacturing.
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