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The global epichlorohydrin market is expected to have reached a consumption level in 2012 of over 1,520 kilo tons, and is forecast to reached a CAGR growth rate of 4.8% between 2012 and 2017. There are a number of key drivers in this industry, including increased demand for epichlorohydrin in China, and growing end-user segments such as the paint and electronics industries.
Epoxy resin is the main application which consumes a large part of Epichlorohydrin. Properties of epoxy resin make it suitable for wide variety of applications such as paints, electrical & electronics, construction, wind turbine, composites, adhesives, and others. Since, epoxies have the largest share in applications; growth of the epoxy resin industry will ultimately contribute to the growth of ECH industry.
Most of the companies are the captive producers of Epichlorohydrin and utilize entire ECH produced for epoxy resin manufacturing. Top players such as Dow Chemical Company (U.S.), Formosa Plastics, and Momentive Performance Materials Inc. are captive producers of ECH.
ECH has wide range of applications from epoxy resins, synthetic glycerin, water treatment resins, pharmaceuticals and others (epichlorohydrin-based rubber, textiles, papers, inks, dyes, ion exchange resins, agricultural products such as insecticides, bactericides, and fungicides).
Traditionally, epichlorohydrin (ECH) is being produced through petro-based feedstock, i.e. from propylene. However, companies have started using glycerin which is slowly replacing propylene. Glycerin is a bio-based feedstock and can be obtained easily as byproduct from biodiesel production. The increasing availability of bio-based glycerin from biodiesel production makes it possible to produce bio-based epichlorohydrin.
Highest growth can be seen in China where most of the companies either have already established or planning to set up their manufacturing plants. Growing domestic markets of Asia-Pacific region, low cost of raw material and labor are attracting companies towards China. By 2017, China will become the largest producer as well as exporter of ECH.
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