The global industrial alcohol market was valued at USD 93.4 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 112 billion by 2025, recording a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period. Growing consumer demand for petrochemicals and commercialization of alternative fuels in emerging economies such as India, China, and Brazil have fueled the market growth of industrial alcohol.
The industrial alcohol market is dominated by a few globally established players such as Sigma-Aldrich (US), Univar Solutions (US), Cargill (US), Raizen Energia (Brazil), and MGP Ingredients (US). Major players are focusing on investing in production capacity expansion, in order to meet the increased demand for industrial alcohol from chemical and fuel industries.
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As the largest and fastest growing regional market, the demand for industrial alcohol in Asia Pacific can be attributed to the growing market for pharmaceutical and personal care sectors. The demand for industrial alcohol is also propelled by increasing awareness regarding greener technology in countries such as India, China, and Thailand. The industry found support from the governments of individual countries for the development of biofuels in the energy sector and the growth in agricultural land availability for bioethanol production. North America region, as the second largest market, has been one of the largest exporters in the global ethyl alcohol market in the last two decades.
The most common application areas for industrial alcohol are fuel, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients (except beverages), personal care products, chemical intermediates & solvents, and other applications, which include home care products and reagents. Application in the fuel segment cornered the largest share of industrial alcohol followed by chemical intermediates & solvents. The energy sector is the main industry where a majority of alcohol is used in the form of biofuel. Ethyl alcohol and isobutyl alcohol are the two alcohol types used majorly in the fuel segment.
Covering the largest market share, ethyl alcohol works as an excellent disinfectant, owing to which it is used in industrial disinfectants and cleansing agents. Dominating both in value and volume terms, ethyl alcohol finds applications across a wide variety of industries. Food-grade ethyl alcohol is used in food applications. There are also fuel-grade ethyl alcohols available at varying concentrations, which are used as a blend in gasoline. Along with ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol is also used as an additive in fuels to increase efficiency.