Sunday, 22 September 2013

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a white crystalline organic compound which is volatile in nature. It is an important industrial commodity as its derivatives are key ingredients in making a wide range of industry products. Phenol and its derivatives are mostly used to make polycarbonates, epoxy resins, Bakelite, nylon, phenolic resins, detergents, herbicides, and pharmaceutical drugs. Its major use that comprises two-third of its production involves the conversion of its derivatives to plastic. The main chemical derivative and the largest market for phenol is bisphenol-A (BPA).

The global demand for the industrial phenol market has been steadily increasing over the last few years mainly because of the demand for its derivatives from the end-use segment. The derivatives of phenol namely bisphenol-A, phenolic resins, and caprolactam together accounted for more than 70% demand for phenol globally in the year 2010. The other factor propelling the growth of the phenol market is the recent growth of the wind energy market. The rise in demand for epoxy resins (derived from phenol) from wind turbine power generators is expected to continue due to the increased global focus on sustainable energy sources in the current high cost crude oil and energy environment.

The growing demand for phenol in China and the Asia-Pacific region provides a wide range of opportunities to the phenol industry. China has emerged as a petrochemical product manufacturer and thus imports a major amount of phenol for producing its derivatives. 

This demand in China is also driving the Asia-Pacific region’s demand for phenol. Many manufacturing plants for phenol and acetone derivatives in the Asia-Pacific region are driving the demand for phenol tremendously, thereby compensating for the slow and steady growth in the American and European market.

Some of the major companies involved in the production of phenol and its derivatives are PTT Phenol, Aditya Birla Chemicals, Bayer Material Science, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Shandong Sheng Quan Chemicals Co. Ltd.

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