The global market for 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO) is expected to reach $6,947.1 million by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. Growth of footwear industry, mainly in Asia Pacific, is expected to drive the market for 1,4-BDO over the forecast period. In addition, 1,4-BDO is used for manufacturing tetrahydrofuran (THF) which is further used for manufacturing spandex, a raw material for sports apparel. Growing number of global sporting events is expected to augment sport apparel demand, which is likely to reflect in 1,4-BDO market. However, volatile raw material prices coupled with stringent environment regulations, mainly in North America and Europe is expected to be a key challenge for market participants over the next six years. In order to overcome these challenges, the industry has shifted its focus towards developing bio-based 1,4-BDO which along with providing an eco friendly solution also provides cost competitiveness against its synthetic counterpart. Some major companies developing bio-based routes to 1,4-BDO include BASF, Purac, DSM, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Myriant and Genomatica.
THF emerged as the leading application for 1,4-BDO and accounted for 29.9% of the total market volume in 2013. Polyurethane, on account of growing footwear demand mainly in China, India and Brazil is expected to be fastest growing application market for 1,4-BDO, at an estimated CAGR of 5.1 percent from 2014 to 2020. 1,4-BDO demand for PBT and GBL is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% and 4.3% from 2014 to 2020, respectively.
Further key findings from the study suggest:
The global market for 1,4-BDO was 1,954.5 kilo tons in 2013 and is expected to reach 2,713.7 kilo tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.8 percent from 2014 to 2020.
Asia Pacific dominated the global 1,4-BDO market and accounted for 55.6 percent of total market volume in 2013. Asia Pacific, along with being the largest market, is also expected to be the fastest growing market for 1,4-BDO, at an estimated CAGR of 5.1 percent from 2014 to 2020. Growth of footwear and sports apparel industries mainly in China, India and Indonesia on account of growing disposable income level in the nations is expected to spur growth for 1,4-BDO over the forecast period.
North America and Europe are fairly mature markets for 1,4-BDO and are expected to grow at a relatively lower growth rate over the forecast. The mature markets are largely driven by the green initiatives taken by the governments in collaboration with major industry participants to develop bio-based alternatives to 1,4-BDO.
The global market for 1,4-BDO is fairly concentrated with top four companies including BASF, Dairen Chemicals, Lyondell Chemicals and Shanxi Sanwei Group, which accounted for over 50% of total market in 2013. Also, established participants such as Mitsubishi Chemicals have been collaborating with biotechnology firms to develop bio-based BDO in order to achieve sustainability.
The current market for synthetic (petroleum based) 2,3-BDO is very small and unattractive. 2,3-BDO is used as a laboratory chemical and is being sold in small volumes for some niche applications like food flavoring. But if the same 2,3-BDO is produced from bio-based alternatives it is expected to provide immense opportunities to the players involved in the market.
Bio-based 2,3-butanediol is considered to be a highly attractive and lucrative market being a direct precursor to 1,3-butadiene and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Some of the pioneer companies are expected to commercialize the production of 2,3-butanediol in the next 2-3 years.