Rising Consumption of Surfactants in Asia Pacific Creates Lucrative Opportunities for Alpha Olefin Sulfonate Manufacturers
Emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region represent high-potential markets for personal care products and cosmetics. As beauty and personal care products are among the biggest applications of alpha olefin sulfonates, the burgeoning growth of the personal care industry in the region is likely to create significant sales opportunities for alpha olefin sulfonates market players.
Additionally, increasing economic growth of the developing Asian countries, such as China and India, is generating high demand for industrial surfactants such as alpha olefin sulfonates. To capitalize on the ever-growing consumption of alpha olefin sulfonates as a surfactant in wide-ranging industrial applications, leading alpha olefin sulfonates market players are investing heavily in local markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Some of the examples include:
- Clariant, a Swiss player in alpha olefin sulfonates market, has adopted a strategic framework to invest heavily in China in order to capitalize on a significant rise in local demand for surfactants, such as alpha olefin sulfonates. Along with its plans to set an integrated capacity and regional innovation center in Shanghai by 2020, the company has already opened its first online flagship store, to cater to the local demands, on 1688.com (Alibaba)
- Another player in the alpha olefin sulfonates market, Huntsman Corporation recently declared that the Asia-Pacific region accounted for over one-fourth of the company’s $8 billion in revenues in 2017. The company is further investing in the region to expand its manufacturing facilities, as it recently opened a multi-purpose facility in Vietnam, right after the groundbreaking of its new production facility in China.
- AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, a Dutch multinational company which was recently launched as Nouryon, announced that it has made a strategic investment of over €4.8 million to expand its Surface Chemistry facility in Boxing, China to improve operational excellence and establish a stronger position in the fabric softeners market and alpha olefin sulfonates market in the country.
Stringent Safety Regulations Create Challenges for Alpha Olefin Sulfonates Market Players
While manufacturers in the alpha olefin sulfonates market are concentrating their efforts on minimizing the cost of production, stringent standards and environmental regulations imposed are influencing competitive pricing.
The European Union has adopted REACH regulations, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, to mitigate negative impacts of chemical products on the human health and the environment. All the chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, downstream users, as well as alpha olefin sulfonates market players have to comply with REACH regulations to carry out operations in the European Economic Area (EEA).
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In addition, the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has imposed labeling regulations for chemical products manufactured or marketed in the U.S., under its Safer Choice Program. Though participating in this program is not mandatory for alpha olefin sulfonates manufacturers, consumers in the U.S. prefer to purchase products that meet these standards.
Although adherence to these regulations is beneficial considering the long-term impact of chemicals on the environment, a cost escalation is the bitter medicine in the short run.
Biodegradability of Alpha Olefin Sulfonates: Key to Future Adoption
A majority of personal care product manufacturing companies are aiming to mitigate the environmental impacts of their manufacturing processes as consumers are becoming highly conscious about the carbon footprint of the products they use. While alpha olefin sulfonates exhibit a combination of good emulsification properties and foaming properties, these are also readily biodegradable, which boosts their applications in manufacturing eco-friendly surfactants, thereby, complementing growth of the alpha olefin sulfonates market.
Consumers are becoming conscious about ingredients in personal care products by the virtue of rising awareness about the negative effects of chemicals on the skin. A majority of government organizations, including the Government of Canada, have declared that alpha olefin sulfonates are free from carcinogens, which further provides a fillip to the alpha olefin sulfonates market growth.
Apart from the performance characteristics of alpha olefin sulfonates, such as foaming properties and mildness to the skin, its biodegradability boosts its use as an alternative to linear alkylbenzene sulfonates in a variety of personal care products. The rise in its adoption as an environment-friendly alternative to harmful ingredients is expected to complement growth of the alpha olefin sulfonates market.
Price and Supply Fluctuations of Alpha Olefin Sulfonates: A Key Challenge
Despite the growing preference for alpha olefin sulfonates in a wide range of industrial applications, its volatile prices are creating a hindrance in its adoption in some applications. Alpha olefin sulfonates are ethylene based surfactants, which are derived from petrochemical compounds. On account of this, they are prone to constant fluctuations in supply, affecting its price structure.
Due to turbulent raw material prices and supply uncertainties, alpha olefin sulfonates are likely to get replaced in certain applications by bio-based anionic surfactants such as methyl ester sulfonates (MES) and alcohol ether sulfate (AES), which are derived from palm oil and coconut oil, respectively. This may impact future prospects of the alpha olefin sulfonates market.
Manufacturers Adopt Advanced Manufacturing Processes to Enhance Performance Properties of Alpha Olefin Sulfonates
Industrial applications of alpha olefin sulfonates are mainly attributed to its unique physical properties, such as emulsification and biodegradability. A majority of manufacturers in the alpha olefin sulfonates perform oligomerization of ethylene to manufacture alpha olefin sulfonates commercially. In this process, the carbon chain length distribution makes a significant impact on the interfacial properties of alpha olefin sulfonates.
The significant impact of alkyl chains on interfacial properties of alpha olefin sulfonates makes it important for manufacturers to investigate the retention of important properties, thereby, adding to the production costs. Thereby, in order to reduce the impact of alkyl chain length on performance characteristics of alpha olefin sulfonates, leading market players are adopting advanced technologies such as sulfonation processing technology. This is likely to emerge as a popular trend in the alpha olefin sulfonates market in the upcoming years.
The Fact.MR report provides comprehensive information about the competitive environment in the alpha olefin sulfonates market. With the help of information about key financials, recent company developments, and strategic mergers and acquisitions among leading alpha olefin sulfonates market players, the report helps readers to understand the intensity of competition in the alpha olefin sulfonates market.
The report provides detailed information about leading players in the alpha olefin sulfonates market, including Stepan Company, Huntsman Corporation, Pilot Chemical Company, Clariant AG, Nouryon, Kao Corporation, RSPL Ltd., Nirma Limited, Zanyu Technology Group Co. Ltd., Godrej, Lubrizol, and Enaspol a.s.
Stepan Company, an American manufacturer of specialty chemicals, recently announced that it has acquired the surfactant production facility of BASF Mexicana, S.A. DE C.V. in Mexico through its subsidiary. With the acquisition of the production facility of 50,000 metric tons of capacity, the company is aiming to establish a stronger presence and supply capabilities for surfactants in Mexico and the Latin American region.
Another leading manufacturers in the alpha olefin sulfonates market – Pilot Chemical Company, has opened a new innovation center in Pittsburgh to double the size of the Pilot Polymer Technologies laboratory facility in the city. The company has invested over US$ 5 million in its technology and innovation initiative, to ultimately provide innovative chemical products while catering to the dynamic consumer demands. To be in line with the same strategy, the company also acquired ATRP Solutions, Inc. (ATRP), an American polymer manufacturer, to expand its technologies in the oil field chemicals market.
Clariant, a leading manufacturer of specialty chemicals headquartered in Muttenz, Switzerland, has expanded its production facilities in Clinton, Oklahoma, to capitalize on the increasing growth of the oil & gas industry in the region. Being a leading specialty oilfield chemicals supplier in the North American region, the company is aiming to provide more advanced products and services to the ever-evolving oil & gas industry in the region and consolidate its market position in the upcoming years.
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