Acetone is an important organic raw material, mainly used in the production of cellulose acetate film plastics and coating solvents. The acetone cyanohydrin (ACH) obtained by the acetone reaction is the raw material for the preparation of methyl methacrylate (MMA). Acetone is also the raw material for preparing epoxy resin and polycarbonate intermediate bisphenol A. In medicine and pesticides, acetone can be used as a raw material for vitamin C. It can also be used as an extractant for various microorganisms and hormones, as a dewaxing solvent for petroleum refining, and as a raw material for manufacturing other synthetic materials. It has a wide range of uses.
At present, there are two main production methods for acetone, one is the co-production method of cumene method, and the other is the total solvent method. The key to cumene production is the production of cumene. The traditional process uses the A1C13 process and the solid phosphoric acid process. These two processes seriously pollute the environment. Now they have turned to the advanced zeolite catalyst fixed-bed process, and the scale of the device has also tended to be larger. .
Analysis and Forecast of World Acetone Supply
The world's acetone production capacity has steadily increased, and production and demand have declined. In 2020, the world's acetone production capacity will increase by 4.9% year-on-year, and production and demand will fall by 5.6%. Northeast Asia is the world's largest acetone production and consumption area, accounting for 45.1% and 49.7% of the world's acetone production and consumption respectively. Followed by Western Europe, acetone production and consumption accounted for 18.7% and 17.5%, respectively, and the third is North America, where acetone production and consumption accounted for 18.3% and 20.1%, respectively.
The world's top ten acetone production capacity companies account for 51.3% of the world's total capacity, and their capacity concentration has declined compared with the previous year. Among them, Asian companies are the majority. Ineos is the world's largest acetone producer, more than twice the production capacity of the second Mitsui Chemicals, accounting for 13.8% of the world's total production capacity, and its installations are all located in Western Europe and North America.
In the world acetone consumption structure, the consumption as a solvent is the largest, accounting for 40%; followed by the production of bisphenol A, accounting for 25%; and it is also used for the production of MMA, MIBK, etc.
In 2019, the total international trade of acetone was US$1.09 billion, and the total trade volume was 2.104 million tons, a year-on-year decrease of 29.1% and an increase of 32.7%. In terms of price, the world's average export price of acetone was US$518.9/ton, down 46.6% year-on-year. China, Belgium and Germany are the world's main importers of acetone, and their total imports account for about 68.9% of the world's total imports. Belgium, China Taiwan and Saudi Arabia are the world's main acetone exporting countries or regions, and their total exports account for 46.6% of the world's total exports.
It is expected that the world's acetone production capacity will grow steadily in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of 2.1% from 2018 to 2022. During the same period, downstream derivatives have developed rapidly, with an average annual growth rate of 1.1% in demand and an average plant operating rate increased to 83.2%.
Status Quo and Forecast of China's Acetone Supply and Demand
China's acetone production capacity is rapidly expanding. In 2020, China will add 3 sets of acetone production equipment, acetone production capacity increased by 27.3% year-on-year, while output fell by 3.3% year-on-year, and the capacity utilization rate fell to 68.7%. As of the end of 2020, there are 14 acetone producers in China. They are located in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Tianjin, Beijing, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces and cities. Most domestic acetone production enterprises mainly rely on phenol ketone plants. Lihua Yiweiyuan Chemical Co., Ltd. is the largest phenol ketone manufacturer.
The apparent consumption of acetone has decreased and the self-sufficiency rate has increased. In 2020, China's apparent consumption of acetone fell by 5.3% year-on-year, and the self-sufficiency rate increased by 1.4 percentage points from the previous year.
The import and export volume of acetone in China decreased simultaneously. In 2020, China's acetone imports fell by 9.2% year-on-year; exports were only more than 200 tons. China is still a net importer of acetone. China's acetone import trade is mainly based on general trade and processing trade with imported materials. In 2020, the general trade volume of China's acetone imports accounted for 73.2% of the total import volume; the imported material processing trade volume accounted for 26.8%. Imports are mainly from Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and other places, accounting for about 71.7% of total imports.
The proportion of solvents in the downstream consumption structure of acetone is relatively large, but a variety of chemical products can be used as solvents, and solvents have limited space for acetone. In recent years, the demand for acetone has increased mainly in bisphenol A, MMA and MIBK.
From 2021 to 2022, 4 new acetone installations will be put on the market in China, and the new capacity will reach 744,000 tons/year.
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