Green and Eco Chemicals – A $100+ Billion Dollar Opportunity?

The global chemicals market is worth about $4 trillion and the commodity chemicals is about 80% of this. That leaves 20% for non-commodity, specialty chemicals. (For those looking for a definition and explanation for specialty chemicals do have a look at this brief report) It is the specialty chemicals sector, which according to estimates is a $800 billion + market worldwide.  But what is really exciting is that there is a significant pressure on this sector to go green. Whether it is about specialty chemicals for construction, or for cosmetics, there is a significant movement towards making the supply chain, especially the raw materials, as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible.

The range for industrial specialty chemicals is quite wide, with some prominent sectors given below:

Agri   chemicals Polymers & resins
Construction chemicals Surfactants
Lubricants Industry specific chem – electronic, textile, oilfield…
Additives – Stabilizers, Plasticizers, Lubricant   Additives, Flame Retardants, Anti-oxidants, Corrosion   Inhibitors, Biocides, Emusifiers & Surfactants Color   Pigments & Dyes, Coatings

Low Hanging OpportunitiesConsumer end user segments – In the short term, significant demand for eco-friendly consumer chemicals can be seen for the following sectors, and these will hence be the segments that see early growth:

  • Eco cosmetics – deodorants, perfumes, cosmetics
  • Eco detergents and Eco cleaning products
  • Food ingredients and additives
  • Consumer packaging – especially bioplastics

Companies in this Sector include Daimler, a leading supplier of green chemicals, q33offers Eco-Green Carpet Care & Upholstery Cleaner, a fast-acting, all-natural, cleaning formula that penetrates stains in carpets and upholstery using cutting edge green chemistry.

Companies such as Nike have   designed and implemented a more environmentally-friendly rubber for its footwear created with benign accelerators, vegetable oils, and modified processing chemicals and methods without compromising performance. Partnerships with manufacturers in their supply chain allowed Nike to address process changes required by the new rubber formula collaboratively.

Excerpts above have been adapted from EAI ( If you are an entrepreneur/company interested in exploring opportunities in this emerging segment, please follow this link –



Evolution of organic castor oil from India

Castor oil as we know a reputed raw material for industrial chemicals is often cultivated and processed in fields and oil mills respectively with synthetic inputs to make it available in bulk with desired properties. However, such pretreatments are longer a valid aspect when oil with quality and sustainability is required for certain subset of applications as production of pure natural cosmetics and related skin care products. This conditional demand faced by Wala Heilmittel GmbH, a German firm to market its completely natural skin products based of cold pressed castor oil had made it to formulate an approach of synthetic components free, organic castor oil exchange with India, involving mutual benefits for growers, processors and consumers.  Christine Ellinger, a scientific representative of the firm initiated her actions via contacts with an Indian NGO called Satvik which then functioned with team of eco-minded farmers in cultivation of crops. Her financial assistance to NGO’ advisory council and efforts of Institute of Market Ecology (IMO) certification for product quality successfully boosted up the cultivation of organic castor and the agenda of German firm reached up its peak with co-ordinated assistance from a like minded castor oil entrepreneur, Mr:Nanalal Satra in Gujarat whose dedicated processing facility for organic castor oil production yielded the German raw material of choice ultimately from India.

The face of organic oil cultivation did not wipe off with German initiatives in India but has steadily grown today to a level of 277 tons of castor beans on approximately 1,175 hectares of land with oil yields in excess to supply other prospective companies. The outcomes so far have been fruitful with social and environmental responsibilities and significantly created economic independence for farmers, especially those in Northern arid regions of Kutch who suffered a nightmare in the earthquakes of Gujarat in 2001.

For reference:



Castor Oil Derivatives for Agrochemicals

Etocas and Croduret (trade names) are vegetable-derived nonionic surfactants which find widespread use in agrochemicals as general emulsifiers and solubilisers. They are of particular value as biodegradable, sustainable alternatives to nonyl phenol ethoxylates. Etocas and Croduret , both   marketed by Croda,  are ethoxylated castor oil and ethoxylated hydrogenated castor oil respectively.

The emulsion characteristics judged were

1. Ease of dispersion of the surfactant/solvent mixture in water at 25ºC

2. The particle size of the resulting emulsion

Lower molar ethoxylates of castor oil are used as dispersing agents for oil based systems. They  are generally considered to present no special hazards. However, as with other nonionic surface active agents of this type, they may be irritating to the eyes as supplied.

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