The global levulinic acid market size is expected to reach $61.04 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.78% from 2021 to 2030. This can be mainly driven by the increasing adoption of levulinic acid and its derivatives in various sectors, including fuel additives, personal care, food additives, and agriculture. Moreover, one of the primary factors for the market expansion is the expanding agriculture industry. As a green alternative to sulfuric acid, levulinic acid is increasingly being used in solvents, insecticides, fertilizers, and herbicides.
Another key growth-inducing aspect is the increasing product adoption rate as a substitute for phthalate plasticizers in the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. The demand is also expected to grow on account of the increasing use of this chemical in the pharmaceutical industry.
The fuel additives application category is expected to witness the fastest growth, advancing at a CAGR of more than 10%, in the market during the forecast period. Levulinic acid derivatives include ethyl levulinate, HMF, MTHF, sodium levulinate, succinic acid, and diphenolic acid. These derivatives are suitable for a number of applications, including fuel additives, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, plasticizers, and agriculture products.
In recent times, the adoption of levulinic acid derivates, such as MTHF, has picked the pace for use as a gasoline additive, while ethyl levulinate is being employed as an additive for diesel fuel. In addition, the demand for levulinic acid for application in food additives is expected to increase. Ethyl levulinate has a fruity flavor and butyl levulinate has caramel and creamy flavor. These levulinic acid esters are used as flavoring agents in maple, butterscotch, and caramel compositions. With the projected growth in the food industry across the world, the demand for levulinic acid is expected to increase in the coming years.
Geographically, Europe held a significant revenue share, of more than 20%, in 2021. The regional levulinic acid market growth is primarily driven by the adoption of the chemical and its derivatives in various end-use application areas.
These bio-based products are replacing traditional petroleum-based products, owing to their properties such as high solvency, high coupling, low volatility, and appreciable safety profile. Further, levulinic acid-derived ketal plasticizers can replace phthalate-based plasticizers, which currently account for a majority of the share in the global plasticizers sector. Besides, levulinic acid-based derivatives also have the potential to be used in solvents employed in personal care, metal cleaning, and industrial cleaning products for the removal of grease and stains. In addition, bio-based solvents are a safe alternative to chlorinated solvents, glycol ethers, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), and aromatic solvents. Thus, the wide application of levulinic acid encourages its adoption in various industries, which further drives its market growth in Europe.
Some of the key players in the market are Heroy Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., GFBiochemicals Ltd., Tecnicas Renunidas S.A., Simagchem Corporation, Tokyo Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., Vigon International Inc., Merck KGaA, Shandong Xinhua Pharmaceutical I&E Co. Ltd., Haihang Industry Co. Ltd., and Alfa Aesar.