Ethylene glycol or ethylene alcohol is an organic compound mainly used in the manufacture polyethylene terephthalate and polyester fibers. Ethylene glycol is synthesized through various processes such as ethylene carbonate process, Halcon acetoxylatin process, Teijin oxychlorination process and hydrolysis of ethylene oxide among others. Hydrolosis of ethylene oxide is one of the most widely used process in the manufacturing of ethylene glycol. Monoethylene glycol (MEG) is one of the most widely used ethylene glycol in the industry. Diethylene glycol (DEG) and Triethylene glycol (TEG) are the coproducts that are obtained during the manufacture of monoethylene glycol. Monoethylene glycol is majorly consumed in the polyesters and resins. Asia Pacific region is one of the major manufacturer and consumer of ethylene across all regions. China is the major manufacturing hub for ethylene glycol across the globe. Currently, China implements traditional processes for the production of ethylene glycol.
The market for ethylene glycol was mainly driven by high demand from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyester fibers. Polyethylene terephthalate is converted into bottles, films and other components. Polyester fibers are also considered as the major consumer of ethylene glycol. It is used in textile industry in the manufacture of upholstery, carpets and fabrics. China is considered as the major textile-manufacturing region across the globe. Rise in demand for polyester fibers from textile industry in China will subsequently drive the demand for polyethylene glycol in this region. Ethylene glycol is also used as antifreeze in automotive industry. Further, ethylene glycol is used as dewatering agent in natural gas industry to remove water vapor from gas. Additionally, ethylene glycol is also used as coolant and heat transfer agent in air conditioning systems and geothermal pumps.
China is currently focusing on manufacture of ethylene glycol from coal as compared to traditional petrochemical route. China is anticipated to commercialize its coal based ethylene glycol manufacturing process in next couple of years across all the projects. Coal based ethylene glycol production in China is expected to acquire 40% of the country’s ethylene glycol market. Some of the manufacturers in China synthesize ethylene glycol with the help of syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and oxygen. China is also one of the major importer of ethylene glycol is Asia Pacific region. China imports ethylene glycol from neighboring regions such as the Middle East and Japan. Although the production capacities of ethylene glycol have increased in China in past few years, the output has not increased significantly. Transportation of raw materials, especially ethylene dioxide required for ethylene glycol has been the major concern for the manufacturers. China is expected to provide better opportunities for the global ethylene glycol market over the forecast period. Bio based ethylene glycol is anticipated to one of the major opportunity for the growing ethylene glycol market in China.
East China dominated the demand for ethylene glycol in 2013. Jiangsu and Zhejiang province are the major consumers of ethylene glycol in China. Anhui is another major province in East China that has high ethylene glycol consumption. Hebei province, which is a part of North China, is also considered as a major consumer of ethylene glycol in China. Shijiazhuang Panjiang Chemicals Co., Ltd and Shijiazhuang Lanyang Chemicals Co., Ltd are one of producers operating in this province.
Some of the key manufacturers in the China ethylene glycol market are Sinopec, Royal Dutch Shell, Hebei Qilong Chemicals Co. Ltd., Jiangsu Tianyin Chemical Co. Ltd., China National Petroleum Corporation and Anhui XinYuan Chemical Co. Ltd. among others.
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