Esters are chemical compounds containing carbonyl group adjacent to ether linkage. These are usually synthesized from organic or inorganic acids by dehydration with alcohol. Naturally occurring esters include fats, oils and triglycerides. Major types of esters include fatty acid esters of glycerol, nitrate esters, polyesters and others depending on alkyl or aromatic group it contains. The applications of esters include lubricants, cosmetics, plastics, resins, explosives, bio-fuel, surfactants and synthesis of various industrial chemicals.
Growing demand for esters from cosmetics, lubricants, paper and personal care industry is expected to drive the market growth. Fatty esters are used in cosmetics products as a replacement of petroleum products. These are derived from vegetable oils and other renewable raw materials, hence human health hazards of fatty esters are claimed to be null. Demand for fatty acid based cosmetic products in Asia Pacific is expected to fuel the market growth. Asia Pacific is the largest producer of vegetable oil and other naturally derived oils such as palm oil, soya oil and sunflower oil.
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Further, demand for esters from lubricant industry is expected to fuel the market growth. Increasing penetration of automobiles in developing markets is expected to set positive outlook for the lubricants industry. Esters based lubricants offer superior performance as compared to two other major types, polyalphalefins and polyalkylene glycol. Additionally, demand for ester derivatives such as polyesters is expected to drive the market growth. There are numerous types of polyesters available in the market with diverse applications. The applications of polyesters include computers, industrial fabrics, textiles, home furnishing, electrical insulation, packaging and others. Polyesters do not absorb moisture that helps in resisting different stains and chemicals.
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However, high cost of esters based lubricant is expected to hamper the market growth. Chemically synthesized esters are petroleum derivative hence volatility in crude oil prices is expected to hamper the market growth. Complex processing and high production cost of ester production for specific application may inhibit the market growth.
Niche applications of esters such as solvency, thickening and bio-diesel are expected to provide immense opportunities for the players in this market. Fatty acids derived bio-diesel can act as an alternative to conventional crude oil. Additionally, increasing popularity of specialty and natural esters from personal care products due to their advantages are expected to become major opportunity in the near future.
Asia Pacific emerged as the largest market for esters in terms of consumption and production; owing to the factors such as rapid growth in industrialization and availability of raw materials, have increased production capacity in the developing countries such as China and India. Demand for fatty esters in cosmetics and personal care products have surpassed the demand from developed regions.
Additionally, demand from lubricants and textile industry is expected to drive the market for esters in this region. Asia Pacific was followed by North America in terms of consumption owing to demand from various applications. Personal care, lubricant and polyester industry are expected to be major driving factors for esters demand in this region. Demand for vegetable oil based esters is expected to drive the market for esters in Europe.
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Global esters market is highly fragmented with few major international companies in the market. There are large number of small scale manufacturers in China and as well as in other developing countries. Some of the key players in the esters market include Esterchem Ltd., AOC, DAK Americas LLC, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, Reliance Industries, Toray, Teijin, The Dow Chemical Company, Du Pont, Huntsman Corporation, Kolon Industries, Bayer AG, Ashland Performance Chemicals among others.