Pyrrolidone is a liquid that finds extensive applications on account of its hygroscopic properties. A hygroscopic material is one that attracts and absorbs moisture from its immediate environment. Pyrrolidone is commonly used for extracting and dehumidifying natural gas from crude oil mixtures. As energy-hungry developed and developing countries spur a high demand for natural gas, the demand for pyrrolidone has witnessed a steep incline in several regions worldwide.
Pure Hydrocarbon Recovery in Petrochemical Processing Will Likely Remain Principal Application of Pyrrolidone
Conventionally, desulfurization of various gases has remained the predominant application of pyrrolidone. The other commonly-seen applications are pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. The use of pyrrolidone is also seen in hydrocarbon recovery on a massive scale (through the use of extractive distillation). Recent market studies, however, have found that as compared to all other types of applications, pure hydrocarbon recovery via petrochemical processing will drive the market for pyrrolidone market through the next four to five years.
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Health Concerns Pose Major Growth Hurdle, Which Could be Offset to Some Extent by Vigorous Demand in APAC
The various factors that promise the growth of the pyrrolidone market come with a caveat. Several health problems have been reported as a result of prolonged or excessive exposure to pyrrolidone. This factor has dented the growth of the global pyrrolidone market to a great degree. Market analysts do not expect this key drawback to ease out anytime soon.
At the same time, some of the damage caused to the pyrrolidone market by health concerns will be offset by the robust demand that’s currently coming in from Asia Pacific. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest buyers and consumers of pyrrolidone, and considering that the pharma industry is expanding at a rapid pace in APAC, this region will create a multitude of opportunities for companies in the pyrrolidone market. In 2013, Asia Pacific contributed to over 40% demand in the pyrrolidone market.
Product Segments Analysis by Type: N-Methylpyrrolidone is Largest but N-Vinylpyrrolidone to Grow Fastest
For the purpose of better analysis, the global pyrrolidone market can be segmented on the basis of types as: N-Vinylpyrrolidone, N-Methylpyrrolidone, N-Octylpyrrolidone, and 2-Pyrrolidone. All of these variants of pyrrolidone are used in different applications.
While 2-Pyrrolidone is applied as a solvent, in home and personal care applications, and in pharmaceutical drugs, N-Methylpyrrolidone is widely used in sectors such as plastics, paints and coatings, and automotive and automobile. The latter was reported as the largest product segment within the global pyrrolidone market, and held over 70% product share in 2013.
The other variant of pyrrolidone, N-Vinylpyrrolidone, finds uses largely in the cosmetics and food and beverage sector. This segment came second to N-Methylpyrrolidone in 2013. However, recent market analyses show that the N-Vinylpyrrolidone segment will grow substantially over the next three to four years buoyed by demand from the pharmaceuticals sector. N-Octylpyrrolidone, which is yet another type of pyrrolidone, is widely required in the chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, and textiles finishing industries.
Regulatory Restrictions Bear Bad News for Pyrrolidone Market in North America and Europe
Given the current regulatory scenario in Europe and North America, the future doesn’t look very optimistic for the pyrrolidone market. This marks the beginning of a significant shift as these two markets have traditionally been the leading consumers in this space. On the other hand, in developing regions such as Asia Pacific, and some countries in Latin America, the consumption of pyrrolidone is forecast to see a sharp rise. The growing extraction of natural gas will play a pivotal role in this escalated demand for pyrrolidone.
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