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Global epoxidized soybean oil (ESBO) market valuation to exceed USD 650 million by 2024, Europe to emerge as a pivotal revenue pocket

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The global epoxidized soybean oil (ESBO) market, in the years to come, is estimated to register significant growth prospects, attributed to the product’s vast end user landscape. Epoxidized soybean oil is commonly used as a plasticizer and heat stabilizer in several food contact materials, particularly in vinyl chloride or PVC films and gaskets. Currently, the product’s immense popularity can be primarily credited to the enforcement of stringent regulations against the use of phthalate stabilizers.

U.S. Epoxidized Soybean Oil Market Size, By End-Use, 2017 & 2024, (Kilo Tons)
U.S. Epoxidized Soybean Oil Market Size, By End-Use, 2017 & 2024, (Kilo Tons)

Speaking of which, phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals that are extensively used in several consumer products that include medical devices, building materials, packaging and children’s toys and childcare products made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Lately, the chemical has been identified as a developmental and reproductive toxicant. Moreover, the US EPA classified DEHP and BBP as possible human carcinogens respectively. Epoxidized soya bean oil serves as the perfect alternative against phthalates in order to build plasticizers and heat stabilizers, thereby propelling ESBO market size.

The rapid emergence of biocompatible lubricants due to stringent regulations applicable to mineral-oil-based lubricants and their non-biodegradable toxic wastes may also impact the epoxidized soybean market positively. Before hitting the market, vegetable lubricants made from vegetable oil are required to overcome some poor performance characteristics like thermal and oxidative instabilities. This helps demonstrate the improved performance of epoxidized soybean oil in certain high-temperature lubricant applications.

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The problems associated with vegetable oils like poor oxidization and low-temperature properties can be enhanced by attributing functional groups at the sites of unsaturation occurred due to chemical modifications. In several countries, about 40 percent of a lubricant can be lost to the environment and with rising petrol prices, development of new industrial products from soybean seem economically feasible. Although soybean oil shows superior lubricity, vegetable-oil-based lubricants possess a weaker oxidative stability and flow under low temperatures but by attaching some functional groups at the site of unsaturation these problems can be resolved. The fact that vegetable-oil properties can be improved for lubrication through functionalization methods will drive the epoxidized soybean oil market in the years to come, as they are deployed as industrial lubricants.

The epoxidized soybean oil market may witness significant growth in Europe, driven by highly developed countries such as France and Germany, that boast of an expanding regional food and beverage industry. Incidentally, in 2017 the Committee for Social-Economic Analysis backed a proposal by the European Chemicals Agency and Denmark to limit the use of four phthalates namely BBP, DEHP, DBP and DIBP in articles comprising plasticized materials. In 2018, The European Environmental Bureau and CHEM Trust sent a letter to EU Member State representatives on the REACH Committee bringing to attention that the restriction excludes the use of phthalates in food contact materials even though maximum exposure to DEHP comes from food.

The restriction of phthalates from FCMs is likely to encourage the use of epoxidized soybean oils for creating gaskets of glass jars and on food and beverage can coatings, that would eventually augment the epoxidized soybean oil market.

The transesterification of epoxidized soybean oil often helps in preparing epoxidized methyl esters Transesterification is achieved within 10 minutes at 50 degree Celsius without losing epoxide function. Epoxidized methyl esters characterize a renewable substrate that is readily turned into fuels, surfactants, additives and other industrial products. Therefore, the transesterification process can increase the availability of epoxidized methyl esters and endorse the development of new bio-based products, impelling the growth of epoxidized soybean oil industry.

The epoxidized soybean oil market is indeed slated to record commendable gains attributed to the product usage as a raw material for various applications including polyol replacements, functional fluids, fuel additives, and agricultural and pharmaceutical molecules. Owing to its high molecular weight, the product can resist volatilization, extraction, and migration and act as a polymeric plasticizer. Driven by its widespread demand credited to its highly beneficial characteristics, the global epoxidized soybean market is anticipated to exceed $650 million by the year 2024.

Author NameKrithika Krishnan

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