According to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc., the global market for levulinic acid is expected to reach 917.2 kilo tons by 2020. Growing applications of levulinic acid in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics and solvents is expected to drive the demand over the next six years. In addition, technology development for levulinic acid production, in order to reduce cost to competitive levels is further expected to augment the growth of the market over the forecast period. As of 2013, levulinic acid was a small segment of the platform chemicals market but with development of applications such as Methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), DALA, ethyl levulinate and Diphenolic Acid, the potential demand is expected to be in excess of 25,000 kilo tons over the next six years.
Various companies such as DuPont, Segetis and Biofine have developed patented process for the manufacturing of levulinic acid through bio-based routes. This is expected to open up opportunities for the market which till date were constrained due to the limited availability of raw material feedstock. In addition, the companies also claim to have developed processes which would reduce the price of levulinic acid from its current range of USD 5 to 8 per kilo to less than USD 1 per kilo. This is expected to result in increased application scope for levulinic acid with the chemical being used in applications such as solvents, pesticides, fuels, fragrances and acrylic monomers among others.
Further Key findings from the study suggest:
Delta aminolevulinic acid (DALA) was the largest application segment for the levulinic acid market, accounting for over 50% of the global consumption in 2013. The key reason was the growing demand for organic pesticides/herbicides such as DALA which have in turn boosted the demand for levulinic acid. This segment is also expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period growing at a CAGR of over 6% from 2014 to 2020.
Other major applications of levulinic acid include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food colorants. However, the development of bio based levulinic acid has opened avenues for utilization of levulinic acid in the manufacturing of MTHF, Ketals, Diphenolic Acid, Ethyl Levulinate and Valerolactone among others. MTHF, Ethyl levulinate and valerolactone are potential biofuels and the limited availability of fossil fuels is expected to boost the demand for levulinic acid.
Asia Pacific was the largest consumer of levulinic acid in 2013, accounting for over 260 KT of the global demand. The region is also expected to witness fastest growth in terms of consumption, growing at a CAGR of 6.8 % from 2014 to 2020. The presence of large application industries in the region is the primary reason for high growth and rapid consumption.
Europe was the second largest consumer of levulinic acid in 2013 and accounted for over 30% of global consumption. The region has vast potential for development of levulinic acid market due to the high demand of bio based fuels which can be potential downstream products of levulinic acid.
DuPont, Segetis and Biofine were the largest companies in the market and manufacture a variety of levulinic acid derived products. Also, all the above mentioned companies have developed processes to produce levulinic acid through bio routes. There are several smaller Chinese manufacturers in the market such as Hebei Langfang Triple Well Chemicals Co.Ltd, Jiangsu Yancheng China Flavor Chemicals Co and Shijiazhuang Pharmaceutical Group Ouyi Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.among others.