The plasticizers industry is focused on introducing safer alternatives with the most recent focus on bio-based and renewable feedstock that provide a more favourable environmental footprint. The market was valued at $11.67 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $16.15 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period, based on the report by MarketsandMarkets. The high demand for plasticizers in various applications, such as flooring & wall coverings, wire & cable, coated fabrics, consumer goods, and film & sheet is driving the plasticizers market, according to the report.
By applications, the film & sheet segment is seen to record the highest growth during the forecast period. Film & sheet is projected to be the fastest-growing segment of the plasticizers market. The robust performance of this segment is attributed to increasing demand from the packaging application in the food & beverage industry. Awareness about health and hygiene is further driving the packaging industry market, which thereby boosts the film & sheet application.
Non-phthalates is expected to be the fastest-growing segment of the plasticizers market by type, due to the Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) regulations for restrictions on the use of phthalates. The non-phtalates segment continues to expand as many companies are voluntarily moving away from phthalates plasticizers. Increasing number of studies are exposing the adverse health effects due to the use of phthalates plasticizers. In addition, non-governmental organisations (NGO) such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) are promoting the use of non-phthalates plasticizers due to their environment-friendly nature. The application of certain phthalates in many consumer products is prohibited in various countries. In Europe, directives such as the EEC directive 2005/84/EEC, (EC) 10/2011 (Union List), and other regulations prohibit the use of phthalates plasticizers in certain applications. The European Parliament prohibits the use of three phthalates plasticizers, namely, DEHP, DBP, and BBP in children's toys and childcare items. DINP, DIDP, and DNOP are also banned for use in sensitive applications. These stringent regulations are the major restraints for the growth of the phthalates plasticizers market.
Roughly 90.0% of all plasticizers are consumed by PVC manufacturers to modify the property of their PVC products according to the requirement of the end user. Rising demand for lightweight PVC materials in various end-use industries and increased lifetime in comparison to conventional PVC are driving the demand for flexible PVC. These flexible PVC’s opens up new application markets due to its durability property with high performance of up to 50 years. The use of PVC has been rising since 1930 due to its excellent water resistance and non-flammable properties. Flexible PVC accounts for around 30–40% of the total PVC market. Flexible PVC majorly finds applications in pipe, flooring, wall covering, napkins, adhesive films, pool liners, extruded wires, automotive, synthetic leather coated textiles, and medical devices. Moreover, the growing population and rising standard of living are also increasing the demand for flexible PVC materials in various construction and automotive applications.
Derived from renewable and recycled feedstock
The range of pro-environment plasticizers has expanded owing to the market’s growing preference for this type of materials. BASF now offers part of its plasticizer portfolio based on circular feedstocks. For this purpose, either renewable or chemically recycled feedstock is used at the beginning of the value chain instead of fossil resources. The alternative feedstock is allocated to the sales products according to a mass balance approach.
BASF has launched biomass balanced (BMB) plasticizers based on renewable raw materials under the names Hexamoll® DINCH BMB, Palatinol® N BMB, Palatinol® 10-P BMB and Plastomoll® DOA BMB. Instead of fossil resources, the required amount of bio-naphtha or biogas is used. These materials are derived from organic waste or vegetable oils. Biomass balanced plasticizers have a lower carbon footprint than the conventional ones and help save fossil resources. Both, BASF’s mass balance approach and BMB plasticizers are certified according to REDcert2.
With Hexamoll® DINCH Ccycled™, BASF additionally launched its trusted non-phthalate plasticizer based on chemically recycled feedstock. In the manufacturing process, BASF uses pyrolysis oil obtained from previously non-recycled plastic waste instead of fossil resources at the beginning of the value chain. The oil is supplied by partners as part of BASF’s ChemCycling™ project. The allocation to Ccycled™ sales products is also done by using a third-party certified mass balance approach. The resulting products contribute to the recycling of plastic waste.
“The mass balance approach enables us to process renewable and recycled feedstocks together with fossil raw materials in our existing efficient production network and to allocate their share to specific products,” explains Diana Brunnenkant, Head of Marketing Plasticizers EMEA. “The principle is similar to that of green electricity. Consumers can be sure that the share of green energy in the overall electricity grid increases due to their decision to purchase it. However, the electricity they use in their homes is not only generated from renewable energy sources.”
“Our customers are increasingly facing pressure with regards to resource-efficient products,” says Dr. Matthias Pfeiffer, Head of Technical Marketing Plasticizers EMEA. “With these products we offer a more sustainable solution and make another step towards a circular economy.”
For customers it does not take additional effort to either switch the production to the new plasticizers or to produce special editions. Thanks to the same specifications and technical properties as regular plasticizers, there is no need for additional sampling or release testing of the new plasticizers. Transportation and warehousing can also be done together with the regular products.
Plasticizers are used in many different applications, including films, insulation for cables and ducts, coatings, flooring, hoses and profiles. They are also an essential part of sensitive applications such as toys, medical products, sports and leisure equipment as well as food packaging. They give flexibility to PVC products and at the same time they offer protection against the effects of weathering and temperature, thereby helping to maintain the products’ functionality.
DPHP supports sustainable sourcing
Another company, Perstorp, is pioneering in the PVC market with the introduction of a general-purpose plasticizer partly based on renewable raw material using a traceable mass balance concept. Emoltene™ 100 Pro is a dipropylheptyl phthalate (DPHP) designed to support sustainable sourcing of renewable and recycled raw materials and reduction of carbon dioxide emission throughout the value chain.
Facilitating uncomplicated adoption by users, Emoltene 100 Pro is ready to be dropped straight into existing flexible PVC formulations. Users can expect the same performance as Perstorp’s existing Emoltene 100 plasticizer, with the added benefit of a lower carbon footprint. Emoltene 100 Pro will be available in two grades, with different levels of renewable content based on mass balance: the first, containing 14 percent is available now, the second, with 71 percent is expected to become available in the near future.
‘‘We are proud to add Emoltene 100 Pro to our Pro-Environment products portfolio. We launched the original Emoltene 100 plasticizer back in 2009 and it has ever since proven its performance in terms of durability and flexibility, especially for tough outdoor applications,” says Perstorp Business Manager Martin Hansson. “This track record drove us to keep working with the same DPHP molecule, but to give it a more sustainable design, in line with our customers’ demands as well as global sustainability trends in, for example, the automotive and construction industries. Being able to offer a well-known and proven plasticizer with improved environmental properties is an important milestone in future-proofing soft PVC applications.”
The renewable content of the first grade of Emoltene 100 Pro is biogas which replaces fossil natural gas as raw material. Emoltene 100 Pro, as well as all Perstorp Pro-Environment products, are certified according to the ISCC PLUS system (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification). Both the mass balance where Perstorp applies both physical and chemical traceability as well as the GHG calculations are certified. Being ISCC PLUS certified also means that our sustainable raw materials are ISCC compliant in all parts of the value chain back to the point of origin. All Pro-Environment customers are also given information about the GHG (greenhouse gas) value of the product.
Over the last few years, Perstorp has significantly expanded its portfolio of ‘Pro-Environment’ products, made from renewable and/or recycled raw materials, to cover polyols, de-icers, plasticizers, acids, aldehydes and alcohols.
Perstorp’s Pevalen™ a high performance polyolester plasticizer is used for sensitive applications, such as flooring in hospitals, schools and public buildings, as well as other close-to-consumer applications – e. g. automotive interiors, moulded parts, wall coverings and coated fabrics. Pevalen™ has a unique performance not matched by any other product, have high plasticizing efficiency in combination with low migration and volatility.
Perstorp Pevalen™ is revolutionary not only because it’s a true non-phthalate, but also because the manufacturing process is carefully considered to minimise the carbon footprint. Pevalen™ Pro represents a huge step forward for Perstorp’s unique plasticizer molecule, and takes sustainability to the next level. It’s the same high performance plasticizer as Pevalen™, but it’s made from partly renewable raw materials which are sourced in a responsible way.
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