Sustainability Factor in the Global Butyl Glycol Market

Sep 11,2019

Glycol Ethers are a group of organic solvents, commonly used as paints and cleaners for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Based on whether they are manufactured from ethylene oxide or propylene oxide, they are classified as "e-series" or "p-series" glycol ethers, the former finds applications in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, inks and water-based paints, while the latter is used in degreasers, cleaners and aerosol paints. Most glycol ethers are biodegradable, with p-series glycol ethers having lower toxicity than the e-series glycol ethers.

The global glycol ethers market is primarily driven by the increasing demand across industries including pains, cleaners, solvents, cosmetics, etc. and are continuing to remain popular as solvents due to their high boiling points and solvent properties.

Butyl glycol is a clear, colorless oily liquid that is miscible in water and common organic solvent, derived from the glycol ethers family. Because it is a low volatility solvent, it has been extensively used by the paint industry and continues to be produced commercially by manufacturers in the global butyl glycol industry.

Butyl glycol is an inexpensive solvent and has low toxicity which has led to it being used in various industrial and domestic products as well. It has been historically used primarily for paints and coatings, and also as metal and household cleaning.

There has been a global increase in demand for butyl glycol that is coming from the paints and coatings industry, due to its suitability as a solvent in protective surface coatings, from both commercial and non-commercial projects around the world. This has led to a modest rate of expansion of the global butyl glycol market, despite it being identified as having a toxic effect on humans.

Paints And Coating Materials to continue to be Butyl Glycol’s Biggest Application

Butyl glycol is used primarily in the paints and coatings industry to extend their drying times and to improve their flow and is also used as a solvent for water-based paints. The application of Butyl glycol as a solvent became popular as aqueous coating systems became popular in the latter half of the 20th century with about 70% of the building coatings in use being aqueous. Because it does not evaporate easily, it is also used in protective surface coating, enamels, spray lacquers and others.

There is also a demand for butyl glycol in the petroleum industry for its application as a surfactant. It is also used in this industry as a component of fracturing fluids and drilling stabilizers, and oil-slick dispersants. Butyl glycol is also used as a component in man household and commercial cleaning fluids, and also provides the characteristic of most cleaning products.

Regulations governing the use of Butyl glycol

Several countries have listed Butyl glycol as a hazardous substance and recommend that the use of it be regularized and monitored. For instance: regulations in Canada state that Ethylene Glycol be diluted to a certain concentration before being used. While in some places in America, it has been made mandatory to inform workforce expected to use it about its potential toxicity.

Butyl Glycol, has been recognized as having a negative impact on humans on continuing exposure to the chemical, with chronic illnesses reported. This has caused stakeolders in the global Butyl glycol industry to slowly shift towards the production of p-series glycol which is considerably safer for humans.

Sustainable Alternatives to Butyl Glycol

The Butyl glycol market consists of major stakeholders who have a global presence. Some of these major stakeholders include BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, who continue to hold a lion’s share in the market in recent years. These front runners use Butyl glycol in a variety of solutions to manufacture coatings, detergents, pharmaceuticals, textile and leather chemicals and even crop protection.

There has been mounting emphasis globally in recent years for the production and use of sustainable chemical alternatives for Butyl glycol in all of the above applications. Regulatory bodies and environment protection agencies in countries have blacklisted the use of E-series Butyl glycol, due to its proven negative impact for the environment.

This is forcing manufacturers to ramp up production of bio-based p-series glycol ethers, which has been identified as ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ (GRAS), as a product that is comparatively less damaging for the environment and its higher evaporation date.

Despite this, however, the global market for Butyl Glycol is on the rise at a steady pace in the foreseeable future, due to growing demand for paints and coating materials in construction across both developed and developing countries.

The authors of the report on Butyl Glycol Market are available to discuss the future of this landscape. Get in touch.

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