The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global fatty methyl ester sulfonate market for 2017-2021. The report also lists laundry detergents and personal care as the two major application segments, of which the laundry detergents segment accounted for more than 46% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global fatty methyl ester sulfonate market:
- Fatty methyl ester sulfonate as a substitute for alkyl benzene surfactant
- Stringent regulations accelerating the demand for bio-based detergents
- Depletion of fossil fuels and rising price of petrochemicals
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Fatty methyl ester sulfonate as a substitute for alkyl benzene surfactant
Fatty methyl ester sulfonate is synthesized by the esterification and sulfonation of vegetable oils. It is made from renewable resources, such as palm oil and coconut oil. It is used in the production of detergents and surfactants. It is completely biodegradable and less toxic compared to other synthetic detergents such as Alkyl benzene surfactant. Methyl ester sulfonate surfactants are used extensively in laundry detergents and in industries for cleaning machinery. There are many advantages of methyl ester sulfonate surfactants over alkylbenzene surfactants in terms of production, sustainability, and non-toxic effects.
Alkylbenzene sulfonate surfactants are derived from petrochemical intermediates and are non-renewable. The cost of production is high as they are made of petroleum products. They are non-biodegradable and are toxic to the ecosystem. They cause problems to the skin, respiratory diseases, and infections.
“Methyl ester sulfonate is eco-friendly, and it emits less carbon dioxide compared to alkylbenzene sulfonates. The properties exhibited by fatty methyl ester sulfonate, such as its biodegradability, and cost-effectiveness have lead to an increase in demand for surfactants and detergents that are produced using this compound. Fatty methyl ester sulfonate is used on a large scale in laundry cleaning and industries,” says Kurva Samba Sivudu, a lead analyst at Technavio for specialty chemicals research.
Stringent regulations accelerating the demand for bio-based detergents
The harmful effects of petrochemical-based detergents have urged various environmental regulatory bodies to impose a ban on the use of such products. For instance, the European Union has imposed a ban on the use of phosphate-based detergents in laundry and industrial cleaning. Industrial wastewater when discharged into lakes, rivers, or ponds makes the water toxic which causes harm to aquatic life. The demand for fatty methyl ester sulfonate is increasing as it is derived from natural oils, such as palm oil and coconut oil. It is highly biodegradable and eco-friendly.
“The use of palm oil-based surfactants can reduce the adverse effects on the ecosystem. Methyl ester sulfonate is an ionic surfactant that is used extensively as an active ingredient in the laundry industry. The regulatory mandate to use bio-based detergents is leading to an increase in the demand for methyl ester sulfonates in the industrial and laundry cleaning sectors,” says Kurva.
Depletion of fossil fuels and rising price of petrochemicals
Most of the industrial manufacturers have been dependent on petrochemicals to produce various products. They are known to be the building blocks for a variety of materials. The constant use of petrochemicals in major industries is the reason for the depletion of fossil fuels. The lack of petroleum or non-renewable resources results in the surge in the price of crude oil and petrochemicals, a major problem faced by many industries.
The fluctuations in the price of crude oil and petroleum feedstocks is urging the shift toward bio-based manufacturing processes. The easy availability of palm oil or coconut oil that is used in the production of fatty methyl ester sulfonate is encouraging manufacturers of detergents to produce bio-based surfactants rather than synthetic detergents.
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