The Asia-Pacific region has rapidly emerged as the largest cumene global market. The moderately developed Japanese market also accounts for a substantial share in the global cumene market in Asia-Pacific region. China is going through large capacity additions in the form of aromatic plants (phenol derivatives) which has increased the cumene market in Asia-Pacific region. South Korea and India are expected to make major contributions to cumene demand in near future.
One of the most common drivers in the global cumene market is the increasing demand and capacity of cumene in various regions such as China. Further, growing demand for phenol is a major driver in the cumene market. Demand within the global cumene market has increased over the last decade as a result of increased consumption of acetone derivatives market worldwide. End-use industries such as bisphenol-A, polycarbonate and phenolic resins have registered growth in respective end-use sectors, which has increased the demand of cumene in the form of phenol.
Cumene or isopropyl-benzene is an inflammable organic compound that is based on an aromatic hydrocarbon with an aliphatic substitution. It is a constituent of crude oil and refined fuels. It is used industrially as a base chemical to create cumene hydroperoxide in order to produce two commercially essential chemicals, acetone and phenol. Cumene is used in adhesives and sealant chemicals, as well as in fuels and fuel additives. It is also used as a solvent in lacquers, paints and enamels and in the production of high-octane production fuels.
For cumene production, the zeolite catalyst-based technology is the most widely used. Older methods are also used for facilitating cumene production, which includes technologies based on aluminum chloride and solid phosphoric acid catalyst. Nearly all the cumene that is produced as a pure compound on an industrial scale is converted to cumene hydroperoxide, which is an intermediate product in the synthesis of other industrially important chemicals, primarily acetone and phenol.
Cumene is released in the environment as a result of its production and processing from petroleum (crude oil) refining. Therefore, consumption of contaminated food or water and the inhalation of contaminated air from the evaporation of petroleum products are the two most probable forms of human exposure to cumene. Hence, excessive exposure to cumene can cause health risks such as skin irritation, headache and slight incoordination which are a major obstruction in the cumene market. Volatile crude oil prices and growing sustainable packaging are expected to hinder the market for cumene in some regions. Various alternative phenol processes that bypass acetone have been developed, that typically involve benzene-to-phenol conversion, using different catalysts. However, these new processes are not expected to affect cumene demand in the near future due to their complexity.
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