Levulinic acid has been majorly adopted by agricultural industry with key applications in fertilizers and pesticides. The strong demand arising from the agricultural industry is one of the major drivers in the global levulinic acid market. Also the regulatory scenario in the levulinic acid market is in favor which shows a positive influence on levulinic acid demand for the coming years.
In recent years, the chemical industry has witnessed a need of sustainability and the producers have been working towards developing products from bio-based sources by exploring chemistry and biotechnology. Levulinic acid is an organic compound, also called 4-oxopentanoic acid and is derived from bio-based sources such as biomass, bagasse, brewery waste and manure. It is a white colored crystalline solid in physical form and soluble in ethanol, water, and diethyl ether.
It is a sustainable chemical product used to produce several other chemicals and substitute synthetic alternatives. Levulinic acid has been recognized as a platform chemical for manufacturing speciality chemicals to replace their synthetic alternatives. Production of bio-based levulinic acid can be done using several processes, with the most commonly used approach being carbohydrates or biomass dehydrative treatment with acid. Some other technologies may include oxidation of ketones with ozone, acidic hydrolysis of furfuryl alcohol and hydrolysis of acetyl succinate esters.
Levulinic acid has a range of applications in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food industry and cosmetics and slight usage in synthetic rubbers, plastics and nylon. Levulinic acid is also used as raw material for the manufacturing of polyols and plasticizers. Levulinic acid has replaced phthalate plasticizer used in manufacturing polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Levulinic acid manufacturers are spending highly on research and development to reduce cost of Levulinic acid to achieve substitution of synthetic products with Levulinic acid in potential applications like polymers and fuel additives.
Based on application, the Global levulinic acid market can be categorized broadly into four categories namely agriculture, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food additives. Pharmaceuticals and agriculture applications hold almost two-third of the total levulinic acid demand, whereas, an agricultural applications include chemical fertililizers and pesticides. In pharmaceuticals, major levulinic acid uses include indomethacin and calcium levulinate, an anti-inflammatory medicine often recommended for fever. Levulinic acid is carefully used in cigarettes to enhance delivery of nicotine in the smoke.
Levulinic acid major downstream potential applications include diphenolic acid (DPA), ethyl levulinate, delta aminolevulinic acid (DALA), methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF) and others.
A major trend in the levulinic acid market is the growth in the number of applications of levulinic acid. The producers are trying to introduce innovative products that may provide for new applications. The key challenge to the levulinic acid market is the threat of substitution from synthetic chemical alternatives of levulinic acid. There may be a preference of synthetic chemical alternatives by price sensitive users as they come at relatively cheap prices than levulinic acid.
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