Butanediol is mainly segmented into four isomers named as 1,2-butanediol, 1,3-butanediol, 1,4-butanediol and 2,3-butanediol. Among all, 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO) is widely used and finds application in manufacturing tetrahydrofuran, which is the important raw material for producing spandex. Spandex is generally known for its elasticity and strength, and used to manufacture sports apparels. Growing sports apparels demand is expected to be the major factor driving the tetrahydrofuran market, which in turn likely to drive the global 1,4-BDO market over the next six years. Increasing sports events around the world is projected to have positive impact on global 1,4-BDO market over the forecast period.
1,4-BDO also used to manufacture polyurethanes, which has wide range of applications. Polyurethanes find application in manufacturing durable wheels and tires, electronic panels and instrument, and footwear. Increasing footwear market in Latin America and Asia Pacific is expected to be the major factor driving the 1,4-BDO market in the region. Global footwear market has been witnessing significant growth over the recent past on account of increasing disposable income of consumers mainly in BRICS nations. This trend is expected to augment the 1,4-BDO market growth in these nations. Increasing environmental concerns regarding the usage of synthetic 1,4-BDO is expected to hinder the market growth in near future. Furthermore, shift in consumers focus towards bio-based products is anticipated to impact the market negatively. Bio-based method of producing 1,4-BDO provides clean solution and also helps producer to gain cost competitiveness over their conventional counterparts. 1,4-BDO is synthetically produced from acetylene which is obtained by distillation of naphtha. Uncertainty in crude oil prices is further expected to hamper the 1,4-BDO market over the next five years. However, key market participants such as Purac, BASF, Myriant, DSM, Mitsubishi Chemicals and others have been continuously focusing on producing bio-based 1,4-BDO to offset these problems.
Major applications of 1,4-BDO include Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyurethane, tetrahydrofuran, and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) among others. Tetrahydrofuran was the largest application segment covered over 30% of the market volume in 2012. Tetrahydrofuran (THF) finds application in manufacturing spandex fibers. Growing spandex demand owing to growing sport events worldwide is anticipated to drive the demand for THF over the foreseeable future. Polyurethane was the second major market accounting for over 25% of the market in 2012. Growing footwear demand globally is likely to fuel the polyurethane market growth, which in turn likely to boost the demand for 1,4-BDO over the next five years. PBT was the third dominant application segment covered about 22% of the market in 2012. PBT mainly finds application in production of plug connectors used in automobile industry. Growing automobile industry in China is expected to drive the PBT market in the region. GBL market is expected to grow at the rate of 4.1% over the forecast period. GBL finds application in herbicides and foundry resins.
Asia Pacific was the largest market in 2012, and is expected to be the fastest growing market over the forecast period. Increasing disposable income of consumers in emerging nations such as India and China is anticipated to impact the regional market positively. North America was the second major market accounted over 15% of total market in 2012. North America and Europe markets are expected to experience stagnant growth over the next five years on account of stringent government regulations on the production of 1,4-BDO. Increasing consumer awareness towards usage of bio-based products is likely to hamper the market in these regions.
Global 1,4-BDO market is moderately concentrated with top four players including Dairen Chemicals, BASF, Shanxi Sanwei group, and Lyondell Chemicals covered the major market. Major companies have been increasing R&D activities to produce bio-based 1,4-BDO in order to sustain in the market.
Research Support Specialist, USA