Recent market study has shown that revenue from castor oil and derivatives market could increase in the near future. Sebacic acid and dehydrated castor oil are among the major revenue generators in the global castor oil market. Large-scale adoption of sebacic acid in plasticizers, lubricants, cosmetics is catalysing its growth in the global market.
In the end user application areas, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, surface coatings, plastics and resin industry are the largest consumers of castor oil whereas the surface coatings industry is the fastest growing end-user for the castor oil.
Asia Pacific is the largest consumer of castor oil and is expected to retain the higher growth rate during the next few years due to strong growth in surface coatings, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics industry.
EAI, the parent company of CastorOil.in, had been studying the bioplastics industry for the past few years and in the recent past we had the opportunity to look at the sector, in India and worldwide at close quarters.
Based on these, we have put together an exclusive team to provide strategic and market consulting for the global bioplastics industry.
The Special Economic Zone in a’ Duqm (SEZD) celebrated the laying of the foundation stone for OMR24 million Sebacic Oman Refinery Company for the production of Sebacic acid which is the first project of its kind in the Middle East.
The project will be built on a land area of about 400,000 square meters to produce the Sebacic acid, which is extracted from castor oil and enters in many of the chemical industry, manufacturers of plastics and medicines.
Sebacic acid size was estimated over 100 kilo tons in 2014 and is likely to exceed 130 kilo tons by 2023. Polyamide application witnessed the highest sebacic acid market consumption in 2014 and is likely to gain steady rates over the forecast period.
Shift in trend towards manufacturing biobased polymers from renewable sources is a key driver for the growth of sebacic acid market. Sebacic acid is used in wide applications such as cosmetics, plasticizers, biopolyamides production etc.
Polyanhydrides are a class of biodegradable polymers that are usually unstable and prone to hydrolytic degradation and depolymerisation. They need to be stored at -20°C, packed under inert atmosphere until use.
Now researchers from Israel have found a new stable polyanhydride obtained from sebacic acid and ricinoleic acid. The new stable polyanhydride was synthesized with alternating ester anhydride structure that is stable at 25 °C for over 18 months. The copolymer is also stable in chloroform solution and under γ-irradiation.
Bio based polymers are those derived from renewable resources and appear to be more environmental friendly than polymers derived from petroleum. Due to their ecological benefits, the production and consumption of biobased polymers are increasing.
Bio based polyamide, also called nylon, is one of the oldest bio based engineering plastics. Most of them are currently derived from castor oil. The key ingredient for the manufacture of bio based polyamide is Sebacic acid derived from castor oil.
In 2012, Arkema acquired Casda Biomaterials, the earliest manufacturer of Sebacic acid in China. Roland Glotzer, who previously headed Arkema Chemicals took control as the CEO of Casda Biomaterials in August 2014.
A 2015 interview with Roland Glotzer gives us an overview of Sebacic acid market.
Some of the key highlights from the interview are discussed below:
Bio based polymers made from Sebacic acid have advantages like excellent flexibility, durability, hydrophobicity and lower melting temperatures.
Sebacic acid currently sells in the range USD 3550 to USD 3700 per ton FOB China, while caprolactam, another raw material for polyamide from petroleum costs around USD 2700 per ton. That is, Sebacic acid based polyamides are costlier. But these Sebacic acid based polyamides could offer better physical and chemical properties such as better flexibility and hydrophobicity. Hence the selection of Sebacic acid as feedstock is based on its performance rather than its cost.
Sebacic acid is widely used in plasticizers where sebacates i.e. esters of Sebacic acid are mainly involved in their manufacture. This is due to the superior low temperature resistance of sebacates compared to phthalate plasticizers. Dibutyl sebacate is widely used in food packaging, while Dimethyl sebacate is used in light stabilizers for cellulose resins, synthetic resins and rubbers.
The current markets for Sebacic acid are in the production of various polymers, esters, as a corrosion inhibitor, as an additive for low temperature lubricants, as a buffering agent in cosmetics.
The future of Sebacic acid and its derivatives market is high. However, the industry also requires sustainable financial results. The key factor is the cost of castor oil. We hope that castor oil would continue to be available in prices affordable by all in the supply chain while also ensuring that Sebacic acid would continue to be cost competitive against other possible substitutes.