Bisphenol A (BPA) is an artificial compound which is derived from acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene. It is mainly used in the production of polycarbonates and epoxy resins. Additionally, it plays a vital role in the production of polyetherimide, unsaturated polyester resins, polyacrylates, polysulfone resins and flame retardants. The product has a solidified crystalline structure and colorless appearance. Furthermore, it is extremely soluble in organic solvents but highly insoluble in water. The product is used in the manufacturing of plastics and epoxy resins. Plastics derived from BPA have superior attributes such as strength and durability at low temperatures, easy processing, and good chemical and heat resistance. These attributes make the product suitable for manufacture different consumer products such as electronic equipment, sports equipment, water bottles, compact discs and digital video discs. BPA based epoxy resins are utilized in manufacturing of interior coatings of beverage cans, thermal paper and water pipes lining. However, key developed countries including the U.S. and France have banned the usage of bisphenol A especially in food contact materials, owing to the carcinogenicity of the product. This has led to the replacement of epoxy resins with PET films in a couple of the regional markets.
BPA finds significant use in the manufacturing of polysulfones and polyether ketones, which act as antioxidants in plasticizers and inhibits polymerization in PVC pipes. Strong use of polycarbonates for manufacturing plastics is one of the important driving factors of market demand. Consumption of polycarbonates has increased over the recent years, on account of increasing utilization of consumer goods, eyeglass lenses, foundry castings, dental sealants and dental & medical devices. Construction, electronics industries and automotive industries are expected to boost the product utilization over the next couple of years. The superior performance features of BPA derived epoxy resins include thermal stability, mechanical strength, good adhesion, moisture resistivity and corrosion protection. Growing R&D activities are likely to provide new opportunities in the global industry. The health hazards on account of continuous usage of BPA in food applications, is considered to be a restraining factor over the forecast period.
Polycarbonates is the most dominant segment in the application field of BPA, followed by epoxy resins with regards to their production and consumption, due to heavy demand from several end-user industries. A couple of the other applications of BPA consist of unsaturated polyester resins, polyetherimide, flame retardants, polysulfone resins and polyacrylate. The numerous end-user applications act as the key drivers for market growth. Some of the product applications in consumer goods include cell phones, computers, household appliances, flooring and bicycle helmets.
Asia Pacific is one of the prominent manufacturers as well as consumers of the global BPA market. This is owing to the presence of significant production base that includes significant development of polymer processing sectors, and low costs of raw material, labor and operations. There is a steady growth in demand for BPA in countries such as India and China. Many of the well-established companies from the U.S. have transferred their manufacturing operations to Asia Pacific, due to the aforementioned factors. Europe and North America are other important regional consumers of the global market. The governments of Canada and countries in the European Union have prohibited use of polycarbonate resins in manufacturing bottles for infants. Despite, no ban in the U.S. on baby bottles, supply of the same products has been terminated over the recent years, due to rising health concerns. Such kind of government regulations have acted as restraints for industry growth.
The key players in the global BPA industry include Samyang Innochem and Teijin Ltd., SABER, Haverhill Chemicals LLC, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co, Sabic Innovative Plastics, PTT Phenol Co., Nan Ya Plastics Corp., Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc., Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Mitsubishi Chemical Holding Corp., LG Chemical Co., Kumho P&B Chemicals, Dow Chemicals, Chang Chun Plastics Co. and Bayer Material Science.
BPA Applications Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2020)
• Epoxy resins
• Others (Unsaturated polyester resins, flame retardants, polyacrylate, polysulfone resins, polyetherimide, etc.)
BPA Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2012 - 2020)
• North America
• Rest of Asia
Research Support Specialist, USA