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Furfural is an organic compound, which is produced from pentosans rich agricultural wastes. Agricultural wastes enriched in pentosans are hydrolyzed to produced this organic chemical. Some of the common feedstock for production of this chemical are corncobs, bagasse, rice husk, switchgrass, and algae. Owing to its nature of raw material, the organic compound is considered as one of the prominent renewable chemicals. Currently, most of the production of this organic compound is done for furfuryl alcohol application. The furfural market has been segmented on the basis of raw material, application, end user, and region.
On the basis of raw material, the furfural market has been segmented into corn cob, sugarcane bagasse, rice husk, and others. The product is produced through technologies such as and ‘SAVO’ process and ‘Quaker Oats’ process. Corn cob and sugarcane bagasse are two of the most common raw materials for production of this organic compound. However, rice husk raw material offers significantly low-cost advantage as compared to other raw materials used for furfural production.
On the basis of application, the furfural market has been segmented into furfuryl alcohol, solvent, butadiene extraction, flavoring intermediates, and others. The furfuryl alcohol application dominated the market in 2017, and this trend is unlikely to change during the forecast period. Furfuryl alcohol is mostly used for synthesis of furan resin, which is an important chemical feedstock for production of thermoset polymer matrix composites, adhesives, cements, casting resins and coatings. The organic chemical is also used as solvent for petroleum refining. Currently, limited applications of the chemical as flavoring intermediates can be identified in countries from Europe and North America.
On the basis of end user, the furfural market has been segmented into agriculture, petroleum refineries, chemical, pharmaceutical, flavors and fragrances, and others. Owing to continuing dominance of furfuryl alcohol as the major application of this chemical, it is estimated that chemical will remain the most prominent end user of the product during the forecast period. In petroleum refineries, solvent application of the organic compound is used. Agriculture is one of the emerging end users of this renewable chemical owing to its growing usage in development of insecticides. In coming years, usage of the chemical is expected to increase among both agriculture and pharmaceutical end users.
The major growth driver identified in the furfural market is supportive regulations related to the development of bio-based products is actually boosting the penetration of this organic chemical across different application. In addition, new product developments by leading producers are also expanding the application market for the product across major geographies.
Volatility of the raw material prices and lack of penetration of the chemicals in developed economies are identified as major restraining forces for the furfural market.
Technological advancement in the production process may drastically increase the production yield of this renewable chemical. This will also help the producers to achieve economies of scale for production. The organic compound can also be used for producing 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural, that is a carbon neutral feed stock for fuel production. In coming years, usage of the chemical as feedstock for bio-fuel is identified as growth opportunity for the furfural market.
Insights by geography
On the basis of both value and volume, Asia-Pacific held the largest share of the market in 2017. China is the most dominant market in the Asia-Pacific region. From demand side, China contributes more than 50% share in the Asia-Pacific furfural market backed by growing demand for furfuryl alcohol in the country. In addition, Asia-Pacific is leading market for furan foundry binder resins, which is produced with the help of furfuryl alcohol. Therefore, strong demand for furfuryl alcohol in Asia-Pacific is supporting the growth of the furfural industry in this region.
Some of the major players operating in the global furfural market are Central Romana Corporation, Tieling North Furfural (Group) Co. Ltd., Hongye Holding Group Corp., Ltd., Illovo Sugar Ltd., Xingtai Chunlei Furfuryl Alcohol Co., Ltd., Silvateam S.P.A., Lenzing AG, Tanin Sevnica D.D., Penn A Kem LLC, and Arcoy Biorefinery Pvt. Ltd.