In order to meet the escalating demands for innovative and economical chemicals, several global trends are defining the chemicals industry of the future. These trends range from the emergence of green chemicals and processes to nanochemicals and smaller, modular chemical factories of the future. Large scale chemical production plants that once filled the landscape are now being replaced by smaller, more modular plants with enhanced capabilities that expect to improve efficiency by 30 percent. The chemical industry of the future will not only require smarter processes and plant designs, but also an integrated system that will sense, respond and sustain feedstock flexibility, productivity, safety and profitability.
Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Scorecard for the Global Chemicals Industry, finds that the share of bio-based chemicals is expected to grow to about 15 to 18 percent of global chemical sales by 2025. The development and implementation of biorefineries enables sustainable processing of biomass into marketable products and energy leading to both economic and environmental benefits.
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“Application and material advancements, particularly in fast-growth regions such as Asia-Pacific, are widening the scope of the chemicals market,” said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Research Analyst Sonia Francisco. “While emerging countries such as Turkey are taking steps to establish their chemicals market, others like Russia will continue to modernize infrastructure to support growth.”
Increased competition in the industry, feedstock pricing, varying customer requirements, and faster response times, means companies need to be more agile to respond to the growing market requirements. As new feedstock supplies and greener processes begin to shape the new chemicals ecosystem, chemical manufacturers are focused on various strategies such as the development of integrated value chains, innovation and technology management, and chemical recycling to name a few, to ensure growth and sustainability.
Current chemical processes attribute more waste than product, resulting in economic and environmental implications for operators. Furthermore, certain chemicals are explosive and hazardous in nature to produce under regular conditions, and require specialized production environments that increase the overall operational costs.
“The industry is looking at solutions that minimize energy consumption and environmental implications, but at the same time, enable cost-effective, smart, and sustainable production,” mentioned Francisco. “Process intensification and micro technologies will play a role in the creation of explosive chemicals, while nanotechnology will aid in the manufacture of nanochemicals with new capabilities.”
The growing demand for new applications will require collaborative initiatives to produce chemicals with more versatile characteristics. Diversification into renewable or greener chemical feedstock and the development of smaller, modular chemical plant designs, will pave the way for a more integrated, efficient, safe and sustainable chemicals industry.
Scorecard for the Global Chemicals Industry is part of the Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related studies include: Trends in the Industrial Services Market, Analysis of Global Automation and Control Systems (ACS) Market in the Upstream Oil and Gas (O&G) Industry, Industrial Automation Market for the European Oil and Gas Industry—Key Insights, and Southeast Asia Automation Services Market. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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