The global meta-xylene market is driven by the increased demand for meta-xylene in the emerging economies of Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Isophthalic acid, one of the major end-products of meta-xylene, is used extensively in the plastics and painting sectors. The rapid growth in the infrastructure development in India, China, Brazil, United Arab Emirates (UAE), coupled with the availability of low cost raw material and cheap labour is expected to boost the m-Xylene market during the forecast period. Availability of efficient and advanced aromatic recovery processes to obtain high-purity of meta-xylene is one of the major trends in the global meta-xylene (m-Xylene) market.
Xylene is a volatile liquid hydrocarbon obtained from wood distillation, tar, coal or petroleum. It is used widely as fuels, solvents and in chemical synthesis. Meta-xylene or m-Xylene is an isomer of ortho-xylene and para-xylene. It is an aromatic hydrocarbon, based on benzene with two methyl substituents attached at the meta position of benzene.
1,3-Dimethylbenzene, 1,3-Xylene, m-Xylol, m-Dimethylbenzene are the various chemical names of meta-xylene. The aromatic hydrocarbon is produced by a catalyst, in processes such as, moving bed adsorption and adsorptive separation and crystallization. It is used for various commercial applications, most notably for the production of isophthalic acid (IPA) which is used as a raw material for the production of various chemicals, plastics and paints. Meta-xylene (1, 3-dimethylbenzene) is consumed primarily for the production of isophthalic acid. It is separated from the mixed xylene stream that results from the refining of crude oil. Meta-xylene is used as solvent; intermediate for organic synthesis and dyes. It is also used to make coatings, plastics, outboard motors, industrial cooling fans, dyes, fibreglass, auto bodies, and vaulting poles.
Crystallization and simulated moving bed adsorption are some of the advanced recovery processes that help the recovery of meta-xylene from mixed xylene feedstocks. These processes offer several different advantages such as obtaining meta-xylene (m-Xylene) with high purity (99.5%, approximately), use of carbon steel metallurgy requirement for less equipment, high on-stream factor for reliable operation and extended adsorbent life up to 10 years.
On the basis of various applications of meta-xylene, the global meta-xylene (m-Xylene) market can be divided into two segments isophthalic acid (IPA), printing ink, agrochemicals, and others. Isophthalic acid is a crystalline colourless solid. It is used as an intermediate mainly for polyester and alkyd coating resins and unsaturated polyester resins. Use of IPA in aramid fibers as a component of copolyester resins and in high-temperature polymers are some of the other applications of isophthalic acid.
Lack of diversification in end use of meta-xylene is a major challenge for the expansion of meta-xylene market in recent years. The concern over the impact of non-degradable plastic on landfill and environment has led to significant increase in the demand for green and biodegradable packaging solution such as bio-plastics. Further meta-xylene is very harmful chemical and has many health hazards associated with it. It causes harm to aquatic organisms and is may cause lung cancer if swallowed or consumed.
Some of the major competitors in the m-Xylene (meta-xylene) market are Bp Plc, Perstorp Holding AB, UOP LLC, Chevron Corporation, and Eastman Chemical Company. Some of the other prominent competitors are JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, ConocoPhillips Company, Phillips 66 Company and Shell Chemicals LTD.
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