PARSIPPANY, NJ – Industrial surfactants scattered among a number of applications, such as food, paints and coatings, crop protection, and oil and gas, take up an important one-third of the global surfactants market, but have been lacking comprehensive coverage up until now. Spanning multiple regions, Kline’s soon-to-be-released Industrial Surfactants: Multi-regional Market Analysis and Opportunities report finds that these industrial applications, driven by complex drivers respective to each application, offer a myriad of growth opportunities.

According to two just-published reports on Europe and the United States, alkyl aryl sulphonates and fatty alcohol ethoxylates are the most commonly used surfactants. However, alkyl aryl sulphonates are mainly consumed in lubricants whereas fatty alcohol ethoxylates consumption is fairly even across various applications. Fatty alcohol ethoxylates are considered ecofriendly compared to surfactants like alkyl phenol ethoxylates/nonyl phenol ethoxylates (APE/NPE) and are currently reasonably priced, which has led to their use in large quantities in all industrial applications.

The use of APE/NPE has been banned in Europe due to eco-toxicological concerns. Furthermore, in some European countries, like Germany, use of polyethoxylated tallow amine is restricted due to its toxicity. In the United States, fatty alcohol ethoxylates are increasingly replacing APE/NPE in the crop protection, construction and textile industries.

Environmental concerns, such as an increased focus on fuel economy and emissions reductions, are driving growth of dispersants in lubricants. In coatings applications, the market continues to shift towards water-based coatings that require a higher amount of dispersing agent and thus consume more surfactants.

“Another trend seen in Europe and the United States is the shift towards higher quality products,” said Kunal Mahajan, the project’s manager. “For example, textile manufacturers are increasingly focusing on producing high-performance textiles, such as nonwovens. This provides an opportunity for surfactants suppliers to focus on offering differentiated technical solutions to such manufacturers.”

In 2015, the European market (EU-28, Norway and Switzerland) consumed nearly a billion metric tons of surfactants. While mono- and diglycerides remain the leading surfactants in volume terms, fatty alcohol ethoxylates are leading in terms of value. In the United States, which consumes approximately 1,200 million metric tons, alkyl aryl sulphonates remain the leading surfactants in terms of value.

Large global multinational companies, such as BASF, Clariant, Huntsman, Stepan and AkzoNobel, are the top five leading suppliers in Europe, together accounting for close to half of the total market value. In addition, many regional companies, such as Leuna Tenside, Bozzetto and Erca, among others, have a strong presence in one or a few European countries. Huntsman, BASF and Stepan are the three leading suppliers in the United States.

In the following five years, alkyl polyglucosides are expected to be the fastest growing surfactant due to their characteristics and favorable environmental profile. Food and crop protection applications are expected to be the fastest growing applications for surfactants consumption in the next five years.

To learn more about these two markets, register for Kline's complimentary webinar on September 20, 2016.

Industrial Surfactants: Multi-regional Market Analysis and Opportunities provides a detailed independent appraisal of the three key markets of China, Europe and the United States. It includes current and forecast demand by major product and end-use industry, product grades and prices, applications, distribution channels, supplier sales, and technical and market trends. This program comes as two key deliverables: a detailed report for each of the regions and a fully interactive database.

Kline is a consulting and research firm that has served the agrochemicals, chemicals, materials, energy, life sciences and consumer products industries for nearly 60 years.