• Amir Muhaisen

Hidden Sub-Market Of Peroxides

in this article, Amir illustrates hydrogen peroxide market players and the niche sub-market of organic peroxides.

Hydrogen Peroxide is non-combustible oxidising agent that has been commercially available as bleaching agent for textiles, polyester fiber, and polyurethane fiber. Furthermore, as water treatment chemical for treating traces of formaldehyde, phenols, cyanides, and sulfur. It finds application as anti-septic agent in personal care products. However, it is mostly consumed for being an intermediate for propylene oxide production, and organic peroxides production.

Organic Peroxides are organic compounds containing peroxide functional group, thus

oxidising agents. However, they are highly flammable, sensitive to heat, friction or contact with other incompatible substances. Therefore, for safe handling of organic peroxides, the pure substances are diluted using solvents called “phlegmatizers”such as kerosene, white spirit, and phthalate esters.

Organic Peroxides decompose upon heating to form free radicals that initiate polymerization reactions. Consequently, they find application as initiators -catalysts- for free radical polymerization, also as curing agents for epoxy resins, and cross-linking agent for synthetic rubber. Organic Peroxides with market significance belongs to di-acyl-peroxides, di-alkyl-peroxides, peroxy-carbonates, and peroxy-esters.

Hydrogen Peroxide : Production

Here you will find brief descriptions, industrial synthetic routes, and simplified flow diagrams to further illustrate the production process for hydrogen peroxide, and downstream organic peroxides.

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Peroxide Market

Chemiprobe started “probing” on hydrogen peroxide market and organic peroxides sub-market since last December, and continuously networking with professionals in the trade. Therefore, hydrogen peroxide business in the middle east focuses on long-term industrial consumers, mainly propylene oxide producers, as propylene oxide process is based on alkyl hydroperoxide intermediates that reacts with propylene forming propylene oxide product and byproducts including styrene or i-butylene.

Saudi Arabia

Presently, Saudi Hydrogen Peroxide Company (SHPCO) -joint venture between Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) and the Solvay Group (Solvay)- is the leading player in the regional market. The chemical plant is located in Jubail with capacity exceeding 300 k metric tonne per year for battery-limit consumers in Jubail petrochemical complex including propylene oxide plant (Sadara), styrene and i-butylene plants (petrokemya)-(SABIC) , and acetone plant (saudi kayan)-(SABIC) as cumene hydroperoxide process is used.

Furthermore, providing for distant consumers including propylene oxide plant (petro rabigh) in rabigh plus regional customers including (QAPCO) in Qatar and (Sanmar) in Egypt.

Actually, Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) is joint venture between saudi arabian oil company (Saudi Aramco) and the dow chemical company (Dow), and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco. Also rabigh refining and petrochemical company (petro rabigh) is joint venture between saudi arabian oil company (Saudi Aramco) and Japanese Sumitomo Chemical corporation (SC). Thus, hydrogen peroxide consumers are business partners along the state-owned chemical value chain.

Turkey and Egypt

presently, Hidrojen Peroksit (HP) -subsidiary of United Initiators - is another market player. The chemical plant is located in Bandırma with capacity reaching 40 k metric tonne per year to secure the local demand for the state-owned Petkim Petrokimya (Petkim). In Egypt, El Nasr Company for Intermediate Chemicals (NCIC) -military chemical business- with its 20 k metric tonne per year hydrogen peroxide plant in Giza, also to secure the local demand.

Organic Peroxides

The leading market players in the middle east are chemical suppliers including United Initiators with long-term contractual customers in turkey, Arkema Initiators (Arkema) with its customer base in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and UAE.

Upon further "probing", Chemiprobe found an existing organic peroxides plant in Tuzla -near Istanbul- operated by Aral Chemicals, which is the only producer in the middle east. The challenge in organic peroxides production is maintaing process safety, thus it is a challenge and an opportunity for chempreneurs. Keep in mind, if you want to start a fine chemical production business, you must start as a chemical supplier -trading company- to further identify and validate the niche customer segment.