How is toluene made

Base material for polyester and polyurethane: Ceresana investigates the world market for toluene

Fuel additives or solvents, raw materials for polyurethane plastics or also for explosives: toluene is used for numerous applications. "The market volume is considerable," says Oliver Kutsch, managing director of the market research institute Ceresana: "In 2013, toluene was sold for around 24.5 billion US dollars." A new study by Ceresana analyzes the entire world market for this important petrochemical.

Processing to benzene and xylene

Toluene is an aromatic hydrocarbon. The direct extraction from oil or coal is not economical. Toluene is usually a by-product of petroleum processing. Toluene is mainly used for the production of other chemicals: In 2013 around 56% of the total toluene production was converted to benzene and xylene. Benzene is obtained through hydrodealkylation (HDA process), while toluene disproportionation (TDP process) and tansalkylation of toluene produce benzene and xylene.

Toluene is found in textile fibers

Xylene is of commercial interest primarily because the global demand for paraxylene is growing rapidly. Paraxylene is mainly processed into terephthalic acid (TPA), which in turn is required for the production of polyester and PET plastics. The largest sales market for this is polyester fibers. This industry has experienced a strong boom in recent years, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. This region now accounts for almost 80% of global paraxylene consumption.

TDI in demand for polyurethane

Polyurethanes (PUR) are constantly conquering new areas of application: plastics, foams, adhesives, lacquers or even textile fibers. As a result, there is increasing demand for the intermediate TDI (toluene-2,4-diisocyanate), which is produced from toluene. In Asia-Pacific in particular, production capacities are being expanded significantly: in this region, toluene consumption for the production of TDI is expected to increase by more than 4.4% per year by 2021.

Producers in Western Europe and North America under pressure

In many established industrial nations, the demand for fuels made from fossil raw materials is falling. Refinery operators in North America and Western Europe are also increasingly having to compete with modern production facilities starting in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. However, closings of refineries also reduce the supply of the by-product toluene. The producers in the western industrialized countries are also coming under pressure because the production of benzene is being greatly expanded in the Middle East and Africa. A large part of this benzene is exported to the world market. As a result, less toluene is used in other regions for the production of benzene.

The study in brief:

Chapter 1 provides a complete presentation and analysis of the global Toluene market. In addition to the development of sales, consumption and production are explained in detail. In addition, the existing and future production capacities are considered. The report also gives a comprehensive outlook on developments in the individual countries and regions.
Chapter 2 examines the 25 most important countries individually: consumption, sales, production and trade of toluene as well as production capacities are shown. The consumption of toluene is broken down in detail into the areas benzene, xylene, TDI, solvents and other applications.
Chapter 3: The various fields of application of toluene, for example the use for benzene and xylene, are thoroughly analyzed. The regions of Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America, Asia-Pacific and Middle East / Africa are each examined separately. Specific consumption figures are given for the most important countries in the individual regions.
Chapter 4 offers a useful manufacturer directory profiles of toluene producers, clearly structured according to contact details, sales, profit, product range, production sites, brief profile, product-specific information as well as current and planned capacities per location.

About Ceresana

Ceresana is a leading international market research and consulting company for industry with branches in Konstanz, Vienna and Hong Kong. For over 10 years the company has been supplying several 1,000 satisfied customers in 55 countries with the latest market knowledge. Comprehensive understanding of the market creates new perspectives for strategic and operational decisions.
Ceresana's clients benefit from implementation-oriented advice, tailor-made contract studies and over 90 contract-independent market studies.
The analysts at Ceresana specialize in the following markets: chemicals, plastics, additives, raw materials, industrial goods, consumer goods, packaging, agriculture and building materials.
More about Ceresana at www.ceresana.com/de/ueber-uns