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Global solvent market: A paradigm shift in the usage of conventional solvents
The global solvent market is undergoing significant changes due to the toxic nature of crude oil-based solvents. The demand for solvents is changing particularly in Europe and North America, the most developed regions of the world, where various environmental regulations and acts have been enforced on the industries that utilize these hazardous chemicals. The Clean Air Act revisions of 1996 and Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) legislation of 2007 has led to the limitation of environmentally toxic materials and the development of new systems, which are less harmful and consume a lesser or no volume solvent.
Solvent demand in China remains strong
China is the leading consumer of solvents not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but globally, too. It nearly accounts for a share of 46% in Asia-Pacific and 24% of the share of the global consumption. The demand for conventional solvents in the region is strong due to high usage in the growing end-user industries such as construction and paints & coatings. This is a different scenario from other countries that are observing a decline in the usage of conventional solvents. This nature of the Chinese solvent market can be attributed to it being the global manufacturing hub. Another reason is that all leading global companies are setting up their businesses in China, for which the solvent consumption is high.
Solvent-based paints & coatings system being replaced rapidly
Paints and coatings currently consume about 50% of the global solvents volume. A decline in solvent usage for the paints and coatings application has resulted in an overall decline in the solvents market. Low VOC paints are being developed, which emit less harmful content into the atmosphere and also use a less volume of solvents than the traditional solvent-based paints. To add to this, water and powder-based paints are gaining a market share and replacing solvent-based paints. Water-based systems have already consumed a major share of the construction paints & coatings market with a market size that is nearly three times that of the conventional paints & coatings system. The estimated growth rates for solvent-based, water-based, and green solvent-based paints & coatings system are 2.6%, 3.8%, and 4.5%, respectively.
Green & Bio solvents gaining momentum
Companies are shifting their consumption from conventional solvents to green solvents at a higher price. These solvents have renewable raw materials as their feedstock and have less VOC emissions. This leads to less ozone depletion and environmental damage when compared to that from conventional solvents. However, considerable R&D and performance improvement are required before these solvents are fully commercialized.
Solvent Market by Type (Ketones, Esters, Aromatics, Alcohols), Application (Paints & Coatings, Pharmaceuticals, Adhesives, Printing Inks, Personal Care) & Source - Global Trends & Forecast to 2018
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