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Solvents are chemicals (solid, liquid or gas) used in the dissolution of solutes to form a solution. They are widely used to suspend, extract and carry other substances without changing their physical properties. Solvents can be organic and inorganic. Traditional solvents emit huge quantities of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which has resulted in high levels of toxic emissions.
Conventional solvents consist of glycol ethers, hydrocarbons, acetate esters, alcohols, chlorinated and ketones; while organic solvents are used in traditional applications such as dry cleaning and in manufacturing industries. Organic solvents are highly flammable in nature except for chlorinated solvents. Health hazards associated includes toxicity in reproductive systems, nervous systems, lungs and kidney damage thereby, leading to cancer.
The global solvents market is expected to grow during the forecast period (2017-2023) owing to the increasing environmental regulations for greener substitutes in developed countries for producing them at lower emissions and less toxicity. Additionally, the increasing demands for industrial solvents from pharmaceuticals, and paints and coatings industry is expected to spur the global market. By source, conventional are expected to generate the highest revenue in the global market during the forecast period. By type, alcohol-based are expected to emerge as a leading segment during the forecast period. Paints and coatings is estimated to be the largest application segment for solvents during the forecast period.
The key trend observed in the solvents market is the increasing environmental and regulatory pressures and concerns over toxicity towards humans. There is an increasing trend for adopting greener solvents in developed countries which is expected to develop and market solvents with lower ecological and toxicological profiles along with the strong global green movement.
Increasing demand from end-use applications such as paints and coatings, agricultural chemicals, printing inks, adhesives, rubber and polymer, personal care, metal cleaning and pharmaceuticals is expected to drive the growth of global solvents market during the forecast period. Conventional solvents are expected to witness significant growth on account of the increasing usage in various end-use industries due to its low cost, and better performance; however, green and bio solvents is expected to gain traction during the forecast period on account of their non-VOC nature.
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the largest market, in terms of both, value and volume on account of increasing population, rapid urbanization in countries, such as China and India, accompanied by the rising demand for automobiles and construction industry. Agricultural chemicals segment is projected to grow owing to the rapid population growth with massive demands for food products.
Growth Restraints The limited technological expansion in bio and green solvents market and the high production cost poses a hindrance to the growth in the global solvents market.
The key players operating in the global solvents market include The Dow Chemicals, Shell Chemicals, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum (BP), BASF SE, Sasol Solvents, Celanese Corporation, Ashland Inc., Eastman Chemical Company and Solvay SA.