Paraxylene or P-Xylene as it is generally called is an isomer of xylene; it is an aromatic hydrocarbon, derived from benzene with two methyl substituents. The other isomers of xylene are O-xylene and M-xylene. P-Xylene is naturally found in petroleum and tar products. It is manufactured by catalytic reforming of naptha, a petroleum derivative, and separated in a series of adsorption or crystallization, distillation, and reaction processes from ethyl benzene, o-xylene, and m-xylene. The purification process of P-Xylene is not an easy process due to formation of eutectic mixtures. The properties of P-Xylene include it being highly-flammable, volatile, toxic, colourless and sweet-smelling. P-Xylene is mainly used for large scale production of terephthalic acid for polyester. Terephthalic acid can be classified into dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), purified terephthalic acid (PTA), dibutyl phthalate xyleme (di-PX) and others. Among these forms, PTA has the largest demand in the terephthalic acid market, while DMT market is fast growing. PTA has seen so much growth and is expected have dominance due to its properties of non-breakage and good carbon dioxide barrier. PTA is preferred over DMT due to its cost efficiency, light weight and shatter- resistance. P-Xylene is mainly used in production of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) chips and PTA (purified terephthalic acid). PET is used in packing and plastic industries while PTA is used in textile industries. Since there is a growing demand for house hold, domestic and apparels, the demand for P-Xylene market is increasing.
In Europe, the top countries in the market are Germany, Russia, UK, France, Italy. The global players of the market include Renmatix, Origin Materials, Avantium, Toray Industries, Virent, Anellotech, GEVO and BASF SE.
The demand for both PET and PTA is soaring due to various reasons. There is also a growing awareness to use environmental friendly products and government initiatives and campaigns to shift to recycled and renewable products has led to high level innovation and development in the industry. This has led to the use of Bio-Based Paraxylene (Bio-PX). Bio-PX is derived from renewable raw materials, such as glucose, starch, cellulose and vegetable oils. This is much preferred as it can be recycled and is a sustainable option. Since PET is commonly used for producing plastic bottles, many food and beverage companies are moving towards making their packaging bottles 100% bio-based and use bio-PX for their production. The growing towards sustainability will further ensure a steady growth in the market and encourage the entrants of various new players in the market.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications