Dimethyl Carbonate: A Versatile Reagent and Solvent for Organic Synthesis

Dimethyl Carbonate: A Versatile Reagent and Solvent for Organic Synthesis

By Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Blog

The dimethyl carbonate market is evaluated at US$1,198.128 million for the year 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.80% to reach US$1,555.212 million in 2026. Dimethyl Carbonate (DMC) is an organic compound. It is a colourless and flammable liquid often recognized as a green reagent. DMC is also utilised as a raw material in organic synthesis, as well as in methylation, carbonylation, and carbomethoxylation processes. The increasing use of polycarbonate as an input in numerous industries and increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries by different end-users is likely to fuel the growth of the market. However, the use of highly toxic raw materials for DMC synthesis and production cost fluctuations caused by them can restraint the market growth to a certain extent. Another challenge is the price fluctuations of raw materials required to manufacture dimethyl carbonate. The need for alternatives to non-renewable sources and the growing encouragement by the government is expected to provide a lucrative opportunity for dimethyl carbonate to be used as a fuel oxygenate additive in the coming years.

dimethyl carbonate market


The Growing Usage of Polycarbonate as an Input in a Wide Range of Sectors Will Fuel Market Expansion

The growing usage of polycarbonate as an input in a wide range of sectors is fuel market expansion for dimethyl carbonate. Because of properties such as transparency, strength, thermal stability, chemical & heat resistance, and dimensional stability, polycarbonate (PC) is one of the most widely used engineering thermoplastics in industries such as electrical & electronics, automotive, building & construction, fuel additives, consumer products, and medical and pharmaceuticals. It is also employed as a solvent in paints and coatings, as well as a reagent in insecticides. Polycarbonate production capacity is projected to expand internationally owing to increased demand from various sectors.

Rising Demand for Lithium-Ion Batteries Will Drive Growth

Electronic device manufacturers, such as mobile phone, tablet, and laptop manufacturers, have been progressively demanding Dimethyl Carbonate as an input for the production of lithium-ion batteries to be assembled in these devices. Furthermore, the growing acceptance and manufacturing of electric cars are driving the expansion of the dimethyl carbonate market, owing to the increased need for lithium-ion batteries for these vehicles.

The Utilisation of Highly Toxic Raw Materials for Dmc Synthesis Is Hampering Market Expansion

DMC is an industrial chemical with several uses. It is principally manufactured and polymerized to make polycarbonates, a type of plastic noted for its optical clarity, impact resistance, and high dielectric strength. Polycarbonates, for example, are used in DVDs and Blu-ray discs, safety goggles, eyeglass lenses, bullet-resistant windows, electrical insulators, aeroplanes, various elements of automobiles, and missile components. Because of the volume and range of uses, DMC is in high demand. Even though DMC is a green solvent, its conventional production process requires the usage of hazardous gases such as phosgene and carbon monoxide, as well as the creation of damaging byproducts such as sodium chloride.

Currently, the majority of DMC production uses phosgene, a very toxic chemical that can cause death or serious health problems in even low quantities, implying that any process design that incorporates phosgene would incur additional expenses to guarantee a safe environment. Sodium chloride is produced as a byproduct in current DMC manufacturing methods that use phosgene. The disposal of sodium chloride can have a negative impact on the environment, especially when the process is ramped up to such high production rates.

Price Variations in Raw Ingredients Required to Produce Dimethyl Carbonate Pose a Challenge

Raw material pricing and availability are key factors in influencing the cost structure of dimethyl carbonate manufacturers' items. The fundamental ingredients required to produce dimethyl carbonate include methanol, ethylene oxide, and CO2. The vast majority of these basic materials are crude oil-based derivatives that are vulnerable to changes in commodity prices. Rising worldwide crude oil consumption, as well as turmoil in the Middle East, are key drivers affecting dimethyl carbonate prices. The ethylene carbonate market is also being impacted by rising transportation costs as a result of rising fuel prices, as well as rising production costs as a result of rising energy costs. Dimethyl carbonate manufacturers have responded to rising manufacturing costs by ensuring that price increases are asymmetrically distributed, with end-users bearing the lion's share. As a result, fluctuations in oil and gas prices pose a challenge to the dimethyl carbonate market.

Opportunity as an Oxygenated Fuel Additive

As an oxygenated additive to promote combustion, dimethyl carbonate has the potential to cut emissions from IC engines, which is a significant growth opportunity for the industry. As a pure fuel and oxygenated additive, the use of DMC has been intensively explored in IC engines during the past several years in an effort to achieve high thermal and energy. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, with the depletion of fossil fuels, energy consumption is anticipated to reach 180,000 GWh/year by 2020. In the foreseeable future, conventional hydrocarbon fuels will become scarce and costly. The continuing growth in oil use will increase the amount of pollution in the atmosphere. As a result, numerous government bodies throughout the world have implemented severe emission rules. To solve these issues, the development of new alternative fuels or additives for existing hydrocarbon fuels is required. The favourable characteristics of dimethyl carbonate, such as low flash point, high oxygen content, low carbon to oxygen and high hydrogen to carbon ratios, and non-corrosiveness, make its usage as a fuel additive commendatory. Additionally, Governments are also supporting the use of renewable non-conventional hydrocarbon fuels, such as oxygenated fuels. This opens up new opportunities for the Dimethyl Carbonate Market.

During the Forecasted Period, the Asia Pacific Region Will Show Robust Growth

The dimethyl carbonate market, by geography, is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and South America. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at the fastest rate due to increased demand and utilisation of polycarbonates by various industries throughout the region, as well as increased inclination towards lithium-ion batteries in the region as a result of the growing electric vehicle market and rising technology adoption. Asia-pacific is also home to many of the industry key players such as Ube Industries Ltd. (Japan), Kowa Company Ltd. (Japan), Kishida Chemical Co. Ltd. (Japan), Shandong Shida Shenghua Chemical Group Co., Ltd. (China), and Haike Chemical Group (China)

The Impact of the Outbreak of COVID-19 on the Dimethyl Carbonate Market

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on almost all industries around the world. Many countries have imposed strict nationwide lockdowns. It has had an impact on both sides of the economy and has caused supply chain disruptions. Dimethyl Carbonate manufacturing facilities were forced to close due to government regulations. Furthermore, supply networks were interrupted, bringing the market to a halt. On the other hand, the government's infrastructure project investments to resuscitate the economy hint at an increase in demand in the future years. Consequently, despite a temporary slowdown, the Dimethyl Carbonate market is expected to grow during the forecast period.