In 2006, the apparent demand for acetone in China has reached 705,100 tons, but the output is only 337,000 tons, and the dependence on imports is still high, and the industry's energy expansion enthusiasm is rising. However, due to the excess of global acetone production capacity in 2006, market competition will become more intense. Therefore, domestically, new equipment should be fully considered when reducing costs and broadening downstream applications to improve international competitiveness.
Demand growth promotion With the continued development of China's methyl methacrylate (MMA), coatings and bisphenol A and other industries, the consumption of acetone has continuously increased. It has reached 705,100 tons last year, and the apparent consumption from 2000 to 2006 The average annual growth rate is about 22.8%.
At present, more than 80% of domestic acetone units use the cumene method. With the continuous improvement of the production technology of the cumene process (which produces 1 ton of phenol to produce 0.6 tons of acetone), the countryâ€™s acetone production capacity continues to increase. Last year, the production capacity has increased to 433,000 tons and the annual output has reached 337,000 tons. The percentage of cumene production capacity and output increased to 76.9% and 93.8%, respectively.
In the next few years, China's acetone production capacity will continue to expand: Ingredisol Phenol Co., Ltd. announced in late February 2007 that it will invest in the construction of a 400,000-ton-year phenol plant in Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province. ERTISA Chemical Company plans to invest in phenol and acetone project in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. The project will produce 250,000 tons of phenol and 150,000 tons of acetone per year. It is planned to be completed and put into production in 2009. With the addition of other domestic new expansion devices, it is expected that China's acetone production capacity will reach about 750,000 tons by 2010.
The consumption structure will change. It is predicted that in 2008 China's acetone demand will be about 800,000 tons. By 2010, the total consumption of acetone will reach about 900,000 tons. In the future, the consumption structure of acetone in China will also undergo tremendous changes.
Due to the rapid development of the paint industry in China, the consumption of acetone as a solvent in paints has increased significantly. Last year, the amount of acetone used for solvent consumption in China accounted for about 70% of total acetone consumption. With the wide application of efficient solvent recovery systems, the demand for acetone for solvents will have to slow down. In addition to its use as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry, acetone is also used in the production of antibiotics, hormones, vitamins, etc. Since domestically produced vitamin C is exported in large quantities, the application of acetone will be affected by the vitamin C international market.
Acetone is the main raw material for the production of bisphenol A. Last year, China's main downstream products of bisphenol A consumed 1.12 million tons of bisphenol A, equivalent to 290,000 tons of acetone equivalent. Although the growth of bisphenol A in the world is limited, it is in strong development in our country. It is predicted that the production capacity and production of bisphenol A in China will increase from the current 50,000 tons/year to more than 300,000 tons/year in the next three years. With the rapid increase in the demand for acetone from China's bisphenol A, the Annual bisphenol A consumption acetone will be comparable to the acetone consumption of acetone cyanohydrin (production MMA).
The methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) produced from acetone is mainly used as a coating solvent, a lubricant oil dewaxing agent, an organic synthetic extractant, and a synthetic rubber antioxidant 4020. At present, domestic consumption of MIBK is almost entirely dependent on imports, and imports in 2006 have reached 42,000 tons. In the future, with the start-up of domestic new MIBK devices, the consumption of acetone in MIBK will also increase.
The new installation must be thought twice. Although acetone in China has not been able to meet the market demand in recent years and the development prospects are good, the global acetone production capacity has grown rapidly. In 2006, there has been a surplus, and new and expanded installations are almost all concentrated in Asia. In addition, as China's acetone plant is gradually put into operation, the domestic self-sufficiency rate will be greatly increased and the market competition will become more intense.
Therefore, while domestic acetone plants are being built at the same time, in addition to supporting construction of bisphenol A plants, companies should also consider supporting the construction of MIBK plants in an effort to reduce the adverse impact that the development of the bisphenol A industry may have on the acetone market. The 15,000-ton/year MIBK plant newly built by Jihua Group has been put into production. China may still consider introducing one-step acetone technology from Eastman, Dow Chemical, or Shell to build a set of 20,000-ton/year MIBK production facilities. Acetone and its downstream products are produced in an integrated manner to better participate in international competition.
In addition, the phenol/acetone production facility adopting the cumene process in China should also increase the production capacity of a single unit to reduce costs, continue to develop the production process of acetone derivatives, and broaden the application of acetone.