The global isobutene market size was valued at USD 26.69 billion in 2021, and it is anticipated to reach USD 38.57 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 4.71%. Isobutene is a derivative of crude oil, a liquid that is both colourless and volatile. Isobutene, also known as isobutylene, is the primary component in the making of polybutylene, also known as butyl rubber, and it is also used as an intermediary in the synthesis of methyl tert-butyl ether. These materials have a widespread application in various industries, including wires and cables, hot melt adhesives, compounding and masterbatches, packaging made of plastic, hot melt adhesives, and electrical insulation. Other specialized applications include compression packaging.
The chemical has a wide range of applications because it is a hydrocarbon that is important to the industry. These applications may be found in various fields, including the automotive, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries. It is manufactured by the process of catalytic cracking of methyl tert-butyl ether as well as through the fractionation of refinery gases.
In addition, isobutene finds use in various applications, including but not limited to rubber, fuel additives, plastics, medicines, and agricultural industries. Based on the industry that will ultimately employ the product, the market for isobutene can be broken down into automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace, cosmetics, and other categories. The automobile industry primarily drives the market for isobutene.
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The rising demand for synthetic rubber drives the isobutene market
Isoprene and isobutylene combine to create the synthetic elastomer butyl rubber. The only known elastomer that is impervious to gases and moisture is this one. The substance also has flexibility and damping properties at room temperature. The substance is biocompatible, has good ageing qualities, is resistant to heat, numerous alkaline and acidic substances, and weathering.
Due to its low vapour and gas permeability, butyl rubber is necessary for producing tubeless tires, inner tubes, glove-box gloves, sports-ball bladders, and other products. It is used as a liner in tanks and ponds to provide waterproofing. Additionally, it serves as a sealer for insulated windows and a mending substance for membrane roofs. Poly-isobutylene is used to create oil and gasoline additives and demisting agents for machining lubricants when combined with other compounds.
Due to its widespread use, businesses have launched products, expanded facilities, and contributed to market expansion. For instance, the joint venture butyl rubber plant between Sibur and Reliance Industries Ltd., with an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons, began operations in Jamnagar, India, in February 2020.
The market for Isobuteneisobutene is anticipated to be driven by the increasing importance of bio-based additives
The green, widely-used fuel additive and an industrial chemical is known as "bio-based isobutene" are created by utilizing a specific enzyme to change the naturally occurring glucose in plants. Over 50% of all organisms naturally contain the enzyme. Gasoline contains isooctane to prevent knocking and other issues. The fuel could take the place of the potentially dangerous methyl tert-butyl ether (MBTE) gasoline additive.
Global Bioenergies and Amsterdam-based SkyNRG worked together in April 2018 to generate sustainable aviation fuel using a bio-isobutene feedstock and conversion process that was ASTM-certified. The businesses seek to get the aviation sector's clearance so that Global Bioenergies' isobutene-based SAF can be included in ASTM D7566, the industry standard for jet fuel.
To generate the metabolic pathways that result in the production of isobutene, Global Bioenergies produced synthetic biocatalysts and combined them with natural enzymes. As a result, unlike most previous processes, the new metabolic pathways leading to Isobuteneisobutene entail non-naturally occurring mechanisms.
The unique bio-based production process is also now being scaled up. While a demo facility with 100 tons/year of polymer-grade isobutene has recently started operations on the Leuna refinery site in Germany, a pilot plant with a capacity of 10 tons/year of oxidation-grade isobutene has been running in Pomacle, France, since 2014.
The isobutene market is constrained by price volatility and strict environmental regulations
Isobutene is used in various end-use sectors, but because it is a downstream petroleum derivative, it is subject to price changes at the source. The fluctuation directly impacts the isobutene market in crude oil prices. Due to its hazardous qualities, isobutene is a highly regulated chemical, and specific procedures must be followed to prevent leaking into the atmosphere.
Although it is still in the production stage, bio-based isobutene is anticipated to expand. The cost of separating ethanol from the water it produces is one of the most significant components of the cost of manufacturing biofuel ethanol.
The global market for Isobuteneisobutene is divided into three parts based on product type, application and region. Further, the market is bifurcated into Ethyl Tert-butyl Ether (ETBE) and Methyl Tert-butyl Ether (MTBE) based on product type. Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) has emerged as the dominating category in the isobutene market. The product has a wide range of applications in industries such as automotive and aerospace. By polymerizing isobutylene with isoprene, the result is refined to produce butyl rubber. However, butyl rubber is widely used in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.
Although the benefits and advantages of employing MTBE are well recognized, the United States has restricted its usage due to the identified health dangers caused by leaking into the atmosphere. Over 90% of the methyl tertiary butyl ether produced is used as an octane booster and oxygenate in gasoline. Because of its high-octane rating, it is suited for use where higher octane gasoline grades are supplied. It has been preferred over ethanol due to its higher efficacy in decreasing benzene and formaldehyde in gasoline and its lower volatile organic compound content.
The market can be broken down into Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace, Antioxidants, and Others based on application. Isobutylene-based elastomers have characteristics that are particular to automotive applications. These features include low gas and liquid permeability, chemical resistance, and good damping. When halogenated, these elastomers improve their thermal performance as well.
Brominated isobutylene-co-para methyl styrene has similar qualities but is also ozone resistant. These characteristics give the material a distinct edge in automotive applications such as dynamic components, hoses, and inner tire liners. Furthermore, its chemical characteristics have played a significant role in its application as an anti-knocking agent in automotive fuel.
The market is broken down into Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Central & South America, and the Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe make up for the majority of demand for Isobuteneisobutene.
The global market for Isobuteneisobutene is divided into North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Central & South America, and the Middle East & Africa.
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Europe and North America are likely to account for the bulk of the isobutylene market, driven by the automotive and aerospace industries. It is because these two regions contain most of the world's consumers. On the other hand, the growth prospect for the Asia-Pacific is highly encouraging, and it is projected to demonstrate rapid growth throughout the analysis period. The Asia-Pacific region's isobutylene market is expected to be dominated by demand from China shortly. China is a key consumer and one of the leading manufacturers of isobutylene.
However, the potential possibilities for the isobutene market are brightest in the Asia Pacific region, primarily because of the rising demand coming from China. Isobutene is also produced in significant quantities in China, making it one of the world's leading chemical producers. Isobutene is in high demand in Japan, responsible for a significant portion of the global total. Even though MTBE is prohibited in a select number of nations, including the United States and Japan, the demand for it in South America and the Middle East has been on the rise in recent years due to rising fears about air pollution and groundwater poisoning.