Methyl Ester Sulfonate (MES) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2017 - 2025
Methyl ester sulfonates (MES) derived from palm oil and coconut oil is gaining traction with increase in crude oil prices and the subsequent increase in petrochemicals prices. MES serves as an environmental friendly and viable alternative to surfactant alkyl benzene obtained from linear alkyl benzene. The viability of MES depends on the availability of methyl ester at a reasonable price.
MES is preferred as it is derived from a renewable oleo-based raw material and offers excellent biodegradability, good detergency, and improved calcium hardness tolerance. It also offers cost advantage over linear alkyl benzene currently used by detergent producers. It offers good surfactant properties and is suitable to be used in existing sulfonation plants.
The other advantages of MES include low toxicity, biodegradability similar to linear alkylbenzene sulfonates and biodegradability faster than fatty alcohol sulphate (FAS).
However, methyl ester sulfonates have several disadvantages as well. MES is characterized by low foam formation in detergent and formulation constraints if MES is used in liquid form in high pH conditions. The availability of MES in the form of free flowing powder has partly overcome manufacturing issues as it can be directly added to the detergent formulation. The low foam ability can be addressed by addition of lauric chain or by inclusion of foam boosters such as alpha olefin sulfonates.
The Krafft point temperatures of MES that are higher than other commonly used anionic surfactants suggest solubility of MES may be a limitation, particularly in cold water washing. It also points to hydrolysis limitation of MES over other anionic surfactants.
Surfactants – short for surface-active agents – are of four different types, namely nonionic, anionic, cationic, and amphoteric. Of these, methyl ester sulfonate (MES) is an example of anionic surfactant which is procured from renewable natural resources such as palm oil. Methyl ester sulfonate is manufactured by leveraging sulfonation and esterification processes. It steals a march over other petrochemical based surfactants such as linear alkyl benzene sulfonate (LAS) on account of its environmentally friendly nature brought about by its high biodegradability and lesser emission of carbon dioxide.
Methyl ester sulfonate has superior detergent properties such as high adsorption, solubilization, and dispersing capabilities for particles and oily soil. However, the detergency of methyl ester sulfonate is primarily determined by the length of chains of the carbon atoms in it. Methyl ester sulfonate is also provides high tolerance against calcium ions. In the global methyl ester sulfonate (MES) market, savvy companies are increasingly upping their production capacities by developing cutting-edge technologies required for manufacture of the bio based surfactant.
Driving growth in the global methyl ester sulfonate (MES) market is the rising preference for bio-based products along with the strong policy support for environmentally friendly products. Instability in the prices of petroleum-based surfactants is another factor slated to up the overall demand of bio based surfactants such as methyl ester sulfonate in the near future. The cosmetic industry is at the forefront of generating demand for methyl ester sulfonate due to the rising ranks of discerning consumer’s increasing opting for natural cosmetics over the synthetic ones.
Methyl ester sulfonate is also finds application in the manufacture of various types of agro chemicals – another industry which is significantly contributing to its market. This is because a burgeoning population and fast depleting cultivable land creates a pressing need to produce enough food which requires the liberal use of agrochemicals. Despite its many advantages, manufacture of good quality on a commercial scale is a tough task. This serves as a major bottleneck to the methyl ester sulfonate (MES) market’s growth.
Geographically, North America is both the leading manufacturer and consumer of methyl ester sulfonate. A host of strict norms framed by the government and other authorities, restraining the use of a raft of synthetic chemicals in the region is predicted to provide a continued fillip to the demand for bio-based methyl ester sulfonate in the region. Asia Pacific is forecasted to be the next major market for methyl ester sulfonate because of the rising adoption of organic farming in the region which requires agrochemicals formulated from bio-renewable resources. China in Asia Pacific manufactures maximum amount of methyl ester sulfonate. Europe too is forecasted to see a spike in demand for methyl ester sulfonate due to the rising awareness about the benefits of bio-based products.
The key players operating in the global methyl ester sulfonate (MES) market are the Chemithon Corporation, KPL International Limited, and KLK OLEO.
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