Nyon, Switzerland - The global market for amine catalysts for polyurethanes will reach a volume of nearly 55'000 tonnes by 2016, and have a value of $350 million, at present exchange rates, according to a market report on the sector by Swiss-based consultant Dr.Joop Koster.
Data on the amine catalyst market in the three major regions - Europe, Africa, the Middle East (including India ), Nafta and the Asia Pacific countries, including China - are included but Koster's 14 Oct announcement on the report said he has not included any detailed country-by-country data in this field since these data are unreliable.
The report starts from an estimation of 2006 PU global consumption data, which Koster said he, "discussed and agreed with PU colleagues."
Koster, who has worked in the amine catalysts field for many years, with Bayer and then with Union Carbide, predicts usage of amine catalysts in the PU foam industry will continue long term, since few alternatives exist that are economically viable and offer good characteristics.
"But their usage in flexible foam applications will definitely change, the trend is to zero-emission amine catalysts, at the cost of BDMAEE [bis-(dimethylaminoethyl)ether] for example," he commented.
Demand for zero-emission materials may be satisfied by current or newly developed zero-emission amine catalysts, or by so-called autocatalytic polyols, where the tertiary amine function is built into the polyol polymeric matrix, Koster comments. This can be done for newly developed biopolyols as well, the additives specialist adds.
Such a route would affect the present supply chain in PU amine catalysts, resulting in decreased PU amine catalyst sales by the established suppliers, Koster added.
Meanwhile, producers of 'active' ingredients could profit from this trend.
And Koster adds that the new EU REACH legislation, which will bring extensive self-regulation into all chemical sectors, is a worrying aspect: not all the currently used active ingredients are fully tested for environmental impact, Koster points out. "It has to be seen if the producers want to continue marketing some of the low-volume products," he added.
An extensive list of major users of PU amine catalysts from all areas is included in the report.
Koster's 44-page study on amine catalysts is available for Euro 5000. For more information, contact Dr Joop Koster, CH-1260 Nyon, Switzerland, Tel +41 22 36 17 960.
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