The Catalyst Review June 2020 - 12

Catalyst Components Market Growth and Suppliers
Within polymers, polyolefins, with reference to polyethylene and polypropylene, are the largest polymer market with an estimated
global production of about 175 million tons and a value of $250 billion in 2018 (Richardson, 2019). Plastics global market is expected
to continue to exceed GDP grow also in the next years, despite the global economy slowdown. The global polymerization catalyst
market value was evaluated in about $4.08 billion in 2018; the PE/PP coordination catalysts, under discussion, score a value of
$1.86 billion (45.6% of total) achieved with a catalyst volume consumption of only about 11,600 tons/yr (TCGR, 2018). The major
suppliers of polyolefin catalysts are Univation, LyondellBasell, Grace, Ineos, Sinopec, Mitsui Chemicals, Toho, PQ and Clariant. See
in Figure 6 the market value shares of such coordination
Figure 6: PP/PE Catalyst Value (2018, USD %)
catalysts evaluated by polymer type (PP, HDPE and LLDPE)
and catalyst type (ZN, Chromium oxide and SSC/metallocene).
We see that the catalyst specific consumption for such
polymer production is very low; similarly also activators and
external donors are consumed in polymerization with a high
efficiency. As example, the typical specific consumptions
of ZN catalyst, activator TEAL and external donor silane
in the PP homopolymer production in a bulk process, are
respectively 0.03 (catalyst), 0.2 (TEAL) and 0.03 (silane) Kg/
ton PP. It is impressive to compare these limited volumes
(and values) with the related polymer market that is in the
Source: TCGR 2018 modified by the Author
order of hundreds of million tons in volume (and hundreds
of $ billion in value). In the following, you
Table 5: Polymerization Catalyst System Components Suppliers
find some notes about the polymerization
activators, stereoregulators and supports
product features, market growth/moves and
major suppliers. See in Table 5 the numerous
suppliers of the coordination catalyst system
by components (ZN/SSC/Cr catalysts, AlAlkyls/
MAO activators, stereo-regulators and
supports). As said, large amount of aluminium
alkyls are used in ZN and chromium oxide
coordination catalysts. TEAL, the most used
Al-alkyl, is a colorless and transparent liquid
compound, which formula is Al2(C2H5)6
(it is actually a dimer). It can be soluble
Source Author
in hydrocarbon solvents such as hexane,
heptane, or toluene; it is highly pyrophoric
and ignite immediately upon exposure to air. At room temperature, it needs to be saved in inert gas. It is normally stored in stainless
steel containers either as a pure liquid or as a solution in hydrocarbon solvents. With the development of plastics market, TEAL
deployed its great market growth potential, especially in China following the impressive growth of plastics/polyolefins there. TEAL
manufacturers are concentrated in the USA, Europe and China with two smaller producers also in Japan and ME. Global TEAL market
top players include Nouryon, Lanxess/Chemtura, Albemarle, Sasol O&S, SOCC (Sabic-Albemarle JV), Nippon Aluminum Alkyls (MitsuiAlbemarle JV), Gulbrandsen, Tianjin Lianli Chemical, Friend Chemical (now 100% Nouryon) and Xiangyang Science and Chemistry.
The global TEAL production was evaluated in 35,766 tons/yr in 2015 (MarketWatch, 2019). All TEAL manufactures in the world
are committed to the improvement of product and safety aspects of such dangerous chemicals. Few suppliers as Grace, Nouryon,
Laxness/Chemtura, and Tosoh FineChem commercialize liquid or supported MAO. As discussed, Grace also commercializes a family
of activators called ActiveCat that is claimed to improve twice the productivity of silica-supported, aluminoxane-based SSC systems
(Thorn, 2019).
Stereo-regulators internal donors, as discussed, may be very diverse chemical species according to the various catalyst generation
(e.g. benzoates, phthalates, diethers, succinates, citraconates and so on). Usually such compounds are produced on purpose to cope
with the need of the specific catalyst producer. Regarding the external donors, currently all the involved components are in the
chemical family of alkoxy-silanes. Silanes find wide-ranging applications in rubber & plastics, fiber treatment, adhesives & sealants,
paints & coatings. Silanes market share is highly fragmented due to the number of large, medium and sometimes small-scale
manufacturing companies. Key prominent industry players are Evonik, Dow Corning, Momentive Performance Materials, Shin-Etsu
Chemical, Toho Titanium, Wacker Chemie, Lanxess/Chemtura, Gelest Inc., and WD Silicone Company Limited among many others.

The Catalyst Review											

June 2020


The Catalyst Review June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Catalyst Review June 2020

The Catalyst Review June 2020 - cover
The Catalyst Review June 2020 - contents
The Catalyst Review June 2020 - 1
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