Alpha olefins are organic compounds created by the processing of ethylene, a flammable hydrocarbon gas that occurs in natural gas, coal gas, and crude oil. It’s also a gas given off by ripening fruit. There are two types of alpha olefins: branched and linear. Linear alpha olefins, such as 1-butene, 1-hexene, 1-octene, and 1-decene, are created industrially by one of two processes: the oligomerization of ethylene or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis followed by purification. Three manufacturers’ processes have dominated alpha olefin processing: Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem), Ethyl (owned by INEOS) and Shell.
Today’s market size shows the total revenue earned from alpha olefin sales in 2016 and forecast for 2025. In 2016 North America produced the highest percentage of linear alpha olefin worldwide, 40%, followed by the Middle East (19%) and Western Europe (16%). That same year global demand for alpha olefin was more than 4.3 megatons. Demand is expected to increase to more than 6.3 megatons in 2025. Alpha olefins are used in the manufacture of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), lubricants, plasticizers, detergents, metalworking fluids, oil field chemicals and personal care items, such as shampoos and bath and shower products.
Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016 and 2025 projected
Market size: $8.26 billion and $12.58 billion respectively
Sources: “Report Summary,” Alpha Olefin Market Analysis by Product, (1-Butene, 1-Hexene, 1-Octene, 1-Decene, 1-Dodecene), by Application (Polyethylene, Detergent Alcohol, Synthetic Lubricants), by Region, and Segment Forcasts, 2018 – 2025, Grand View Research, November 2017 available online here; “Alpha Olefin Market Size Worth $12.58 Billion by 2025 | CAGR 4.8%,” Grand View Research Press Release, November 2017 available online here; “Linear Alpha-Olefins,” Chemcial Economics Handbook, IHS Markit, March 2017 available online here; “Alpha-olefin,” Wikipedia, September 6, 2017 available online here; “Linear Alpha Olefin,” Wikipedia, November 8, 2017 available online here; “Table of Contents,” Alpha Olefin Market: By Type (1- Butene, 1-Hexene, 1-Octene, Others); By Application (HDPE, LLDPE, Lubricants, Plasticizers, Detergents, Paper Sizing, Oil Recovery, Metalworking Fluids and Others); By Geography – With Forecast (2016-2021), IndustryARC, February 15, 2016 available online here; and Saroja Narasimhan and Jon Toliver, “Examining Tomorrow’s Surfactant Personalities: Alpha Olefin Sulfonate in Personal Care,” Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 8, 2018 available online here; “Sodium Alpha-Olefin Sulfonates,” Cosmetics Info available online here.
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