Can Oleochemicals Reduce America’s Dependence on Petrochemicals?
Oleochemicals is one of the best substitutes for petrochemicals, and is being widely applied in several industries across the globe. Derived from animal and plant fats, these chemicals and its derivatives have gained popularity due to its performance, functional efficiency, and sustainability. Especially in America, the growing demand for oleochemicals has has led industry experts to believe in a decade the country’s dependence on petrochemicals will reduce significantly.
Issues with petrochemicals?
Almost all the modern industries are heavily dependent on petroleum and allied products. Petrochemicals are extensively used for fuel production, plastic industry, medical sector, and fertilizers. Critics are against the use of petrochemicals because when released into the ground, air, and water it can have adverse effects on the environment and human life.
Petrochemicals tend to get absorbed easily into the skin, resulting in allergies, hormonal disorders, asthma, and congenital disabilities. One such petrochemical which is under the scanner is bisphenol A (BPA). Used in many plastic-based products, especially baby bottles, BPA can disturb the hormonal balance and affect the normal growth of the child.
Oleochemicals to the rescue
Though a lot like petrochemicals, oleochemicals are biodegradable, pollution free, and very low in toxic levels. It is already being used in the production of biodiesel, bioplastics, and lubricants. These chemicals are also being employed in the textiles, personal care, pharmaceuticals, and food & beverage industry.
The USA is one of the biggest producers as well as consumers of petrochemicals. Owing to its commitment to green energy and reducing carbon emissions, policymakers in the US are encouraging industries to adopt oleochemicals. Some of the major names in United States oleochemicals market like Emery Oleochemicals and Vantage Specialty Chemicals already have a significant presence across value chains
Changes in U.S. regulations and the ban on trans fats, along with tax incentives to encourage biofuel consumption are some of the major factors which have increased the demand of oleochemicals in the United States. According to industry experts, the personal care & cosmetics segment has emerged as a major user of these chemicals and its derivatives. The textile segment and consumer goods industry are other sectors which have replaced petrochemicals with oleochemicals. With more industries switching to oleochemicals, it is very clear that America’s dependency on petrochemicals is sure to reduce significantly.