The name of propylene glycol actually combines a family of chemical compounds. This family comprises the following chemicals: monopropylene glycol (it accounts for the largest production volume among all chemicals in this family), dipropylene glycol and tripropylene glycol. These are versatile chemicals which have specific properties. Such properties include a capacity to absorb extra water and preserve moisture or an ability to remain safe for humans when taken internally. The latter property refers only to special grades of propylene glycol with the highest industry purity at a minimum of 99.8%. Such extra-pure grades of propylene glycol are manufactured by Dow Chemical Corporation at a facility in Stade (Germany). This facility has the highest propylene glycol production capacity in the world. Dow is capable to consistently maintain such level of propylene glycol purity in relevant products, which makes this achievement its competitive advantage.
Propylene glycols are also used in multiple applications. For instance, on the US market, propylene glycol main application areas include unsaturated polyester resins; cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, pet food; tobacco humectant; functional fluids; paints and coatings and liquid detergents. This versatility, coupled with propylene glycol unique properties, establishes a sound basis of the current demand for propylene glycols. Of course, this demand may fluctuate in an erratic manner, but the interest in the product remains high. This explains why propylene glycol-manufacturing companies often make decisions to expand their production capacities. For instance, such a decision was made by INEOS Oxide; this company is among major propylene glycol manufacturers.
Major propylene glycol manufacturers
A year ago, in June 2018, INEOS Oxide announced its plans to expand dipropylene glycol capacity at its 120,000 mt/y production facility in Köln (Germany). In 2019, the front-end engineering design (FEED) for this project was completed. At the present moment, the facility construction is at its initial stages to be finalized in 2020. The interest of INEOS Oxide in dipropylene glycol is understandable. Among other propylene glycols, dipropylene glycol has greater solvency for certain materials and higher viscosity. It is known for its application in such products as solvents, scent carriers (in personal care products and laundry products), specialty plasticizers and unsaturated polyester resins.
more information on the global propylene glycol market can be found in the in-demand research report “Propylene Glycol (PG): 2019 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2028”.