Growing demand for alkyl polyglucoside (APG) – a non-ionic surfactant made from vegetable oils and starch – is driving new developments and increasing marketing for other sugar-based surfactants. These products could replace traditional petroleum and even other natural oils-based surfactants.
Natural surfactants continue to gain traction, especially in the mass-market product categories such as personal care, laundry detergent and home care cleaning products. Growth in naturally derived specialty surfactants, which account for only 10 per cent of the overall $600m (€413m) global specialty surfactants market, is expected to grow by 4 per cent yearly through 2013, led by APG, according to Anna Ibbotson, industry manager for chemicals and materials at US consultancy Kline & Co.
Germany-based Cognis, now owned by compatriot firm BASF, is the world’s largest APG surfactant producer. Other suppliers include European chemical firms Clariant, Croda and SEPPIC, and South Korea-based LG Household & Health Care. Cognis expanded its APG capacity last year with a new 25,000 tonne/year plant in Jinshan, China, citing increased demand as the major driver for the investment. The chemical business division of LG Household & Health Care also expanded its APG plant in Onsan, South Korea, in January because of high demand. It did not disclose the plant’s capacity.
Source: NNFCC, 2011-05-09.