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Long chain aliphatic alcohols are manufactured by a number of processes, but these can be divided into two general categories: Oleochemical - the feedstocks for the most common oleochemical-based processes include plant or animal based oils or fats: coconut, palm kernel oil and tallow fat, or other triglycerides. And: Petrochemical - the most commonly used processes use different petroleum-based feedstocks - olefins (alpha and internal), ethylene, and propylene oligomers. Some commercially available products are blends of two or more specific chain length alcohols to produce mixtures. Different manufacturing methods can lead to different compositional profiles. There are two major commercial processes for converting oleochemicals to alcohols: Methyl ester hydrogenation ± coconut and palm kernel oils and tallow fat are the major feedstocks for this route to alcohols. The triglycerides that compose the major raw materials are first subject to transesterification with excess methanol using an alkaline catalyst. The resulting fatty acid methyl esters are subject to distillation and then may be converted to alcohols by hydrogenation. And: Fatty acid hydrogenation ± this process involves the hydrolysis of fats and oils to the corresponding fatty acids followed by the direct catalytic hydrogenation to alcohols. Alcohols manufactured by oleochemical processes have a linear structure and an evennumbered carbon chain usually in the range C 6 to C22. Some members of this category may contain unsaturated primary alcohols. The commercial processes generally used for converting petrochemical feedstocks to alcohols are: From ethylene via the Ziegler process ± like the alcohols manufactured by oleochemical processes those derived from ethylene via Ziegler chemistry have a linear structure and an even-numbered carbon chain usually in the range C 6 to C22. And: From olefins via OXO and modified-OXO synthesis - the olefin precursors may be linear alpha-olefins (1-alkenes), or linear internal olefins, or mixtures of the two and are reacted with mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The alcohols produced have one more carbon than the olefin feed and consist of linear alcohols and their corresponding mono C 2-alkyl isomers (predominantly methyl) and may fall in the range C7 ± C17, contain even and odd numbered carbon chains. The proportion of linear alcohols ranges from approximately 90 to 50% depending on the feed selection and type of OXO process. http://www.aciscience.org/Oleochemical/FattyAlcohol.aspx
Fatty Alcohols Market Reels From Oversupply, Weak Demand 28 October 2002 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas] The fatty alcohols market is feeling the effects of sliding prices because of overcapacity and weak demand in the wake of a soft economy. Global prices for fatty alcohols in 2002 have plunged by 10 to 15 percent below 2001 price levels. Meanwhile, rising feedstock costs on the oleochemicals side are pressuring natural fatty alcohols producers to increase their prices in an effort to correct a significant price slide in fatty alcohols
which also pressured prices. in the fourth quarter. Tex." says a Cognis official. BP says the shutdown will enable the company to focus the plant's operation on linear alpha olefin production. La. the company raised prices for their fatty alcohols in North America by 4 cents per pound. producers had already announced closures of alcohol facilities to help ease up the market. getting to historical price levels in the alcohols market will be difficult. says P&G's Mr. Cognis Corp. effective October 1. Kao Corp. of Japan started its . Recent capacity expansions in both synthetic and natural alcohols have put the market in oversupply by as much as 300. declined as overall manufacturing growth slowed and buyers anticipated new capacity additions. In an effort to stem the tide of ebbing margins. the reduction in capacity will not impact the company's ability to supply its customers' needs.000 tons per year of Neodol alcohol capacity at its Geismar. security. P&G Chemicals. According to Shell. citing rising costs in raw materials.." says Norman Ellard.000 tons. global sales. insurance. after peaking in 20 00 in concert with world economic activity.. "Alcohol prices. At the same time. However." No price increases were noted on the synthetic side of the market.000 ton-per-year alcohol production at Pasadena. "The overcapacity situat ion and raw material costs have led to weak pricing for fatty alcohol. The company raised pricing in North America by 3 cents to 5 cents per pound. especially given recent global capacity expansions and continued weak demand. BP's plan to exit the linear alcohols industry this year has forced the company to permanently shut down its lone 60. energy. Shell recently idled 100. "Historically. fuel and higher transportation costs. Ellard. the fatty alcohols industry is anticipating cuts of around 160. Industry observers believe that unless further ca pacity cuts are made. A new 150.000 tons of synthetic alcohol capacity this quarter by BP Chemicals and Shell Chemicals Ltd. low raw material costs have also encouraged more natural alcohol production worldwide.000 tons-per-year synthetic alcohol capacity from Shell came on stream in midyear. also announced a global price increase for its fatty al cohols products. facility for an indefinite time.during the past 12 to 18 months. On the synthetic side. Procter & Gamble (P&G) Chemicals is among the producers who upped their fatty alcohols pricing in the fourth quarter.
" says Mike Clark. global utilization was in the mid-90 percent range. The company plans to introduce the new product into the market in November. The annual production capacity of the site has been upgraded by 50. despite current market conditions. Sasol recently commissioned a new 120. with capacity utilization projected at around 75 percent.1 million tons. global fatty alcohols capacity is expected to be around 2.000 tons of lauric oil-based fatty alcohols capacity is still under consideration for the next two to three years. However. which could further pressure fatty alcohols prices. Excluding the newly started capacities. Sasol Olefins and Surfactants. In Asia. as global vegetable oils supply is forecasted to decline to a historically low level. fatty alcohols demand growth is still projected at an average of 3 percent per year or less. Producers expect fatty alcohols pricing to stabilize or firm slightly in 2003 as potential raw material price increases for both synthetic and natural fatty alcohols loom. says one observer. followed by North America with 33 percent and Asia with 31 percent. Meanwhile. . an expansion of around 200.6 million tons by 2005. In 2000. "The alcohol market is anticipated to average slightly less than worldwide gross domestic product over the next 10 years.newly expanded 165. while last year it fell to the low 80-percent range. Meanwhile. alcohols. Europe is said to hold 36 percent. global fatty alcohols capacity for 2002 is estimated at around 2. If pushed through. Lauric oils are projected to tighten next year. global sales and marketing manager . Current global capacity utilization is estimated at around less than 80 percent.000 tons-per-year natural fatty alcohols plant in Malaysia. troubles brewing in the Middle East are forcing producers to monitor crude oil prices. Prices for mid-cut fatty alcohols are currently placed at around $900 to $1200 per ton.000 ton-per-year coal-based oxo alcohols plant in South Africa. says one observer.000 tons.
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