High Demand for Food Grade Hexane across Asia Pacific Likely to Aid Market Growth
Hexane is primarily used to extract edible oil from seeds and vegetables. The colorless and flavorless nature coupled with favorable properties, such as low viscosity and volatility has made hexane an ideal choice of solvent for a range of applications, including chemical organic synthesis, oil extraction, polymerization, pharmaceutical, and industrial cleaning & degreasing, among others. N-hexane, which is also known as an oil solvent is used across a range of industries, including printing, rubber, leather, cosmetics, ink, etc. In recent times, n-hexane is increasingly being used in the medical field and integrated circuit (IC) electronic unit cleaning.
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Asia Pacific is expected to account for over 50% share of the hexane market by the end of 2027. The hexane market in Asia Pacific is projected to grow at a CAGR of ~4% during the forecast period (2019-2027). The rapid growth of the food & beverages sector and staggering demand for industrial-grade hexane in countries, including India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand are some of the primary factors that are strengthening the growth of the hexane market in the Asia Pacific region. At present, governments across the world are enforcing stringent regulations on the use of hexane to improve workforce safety and minimize casualties in industrial facilities.
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Adoption of Hexane for Carotenoid Extraction to Drive Hexane Market
Traditionally, non-polar organic solvents such as petroleum ether, tetrahydrofuran (THF), and hexane are used to extract non-polar carotenes. The choice of the solvent is one of the most crucial factors that determine the efficiency of the extraction process. Despite the growing adoption of hexane to extract non-polar carotenes, a mixture of ethanol/acetone/hexane is increasingly being used to simultaneously extract non-polar and polar carotenoids. A high carotenoid yield is obtained when ~45% hexane is used in the solvent mixture, wherein the solvent to waste ratio is 9:1:1. Despite the increasing adoption of hexane in carotenoid extraction, chloroform and methanol (2:1) mixture has exhibited greater efficiency during the extraction of carotenoids. However, applications of chloroform are largely restricted due to health and environmental safety concerns.
Despite the growing demand for hexane as an industrial cleaner, health dangers that come along with it, including nerve damage to arms, hands, legs, and feet have compelled end users to adopt other alternatives such as water-based cleaners. For instance, end users are exploring the possibilities of using water-based cleaners as a substitute for hexane in the auto repair sector and various other industries wherein precision cleaning is critical. Water-based cleaners are gradually emerging as one of the safest alternatives in a range of consumer products. Within the printing industry, hexane could be replaced by plant and vegetable-based cleaners. The advent of these safer and effective alternatives could hamper the growth of the hexane market during the forecast period.
Hexane Market Players to Focus on Product Development
Companies operating in the global hexane market are expected to focus on expanding their product portfolio to gain a competitive edge in the highly competitive hexane market landscape. For instance, in November 2018, BPCL Kochi Refinery launched the food-grade quality hexane that is expected to boost the prospects of the food processing industry in India. Further, the company announced that the newly developed product will be primarily used for the extraction application. Moreover, active players in the hexane market are likely to gain market share by leaning toward research and development activities and diversifying their product range.
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