Succinic acid, or more commonly amber acid, is a key building block for a wide range of secondary chemicals used in the agricultural, pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries. It is Used for the production of clothing fibers, polymers, solvents, plasticizers, inks, paints, pharmaceuticals, food and feed additives, perfumes, BDO, polyurethanes, alkyd resins and an array of other consumer and industrial products, coming in 3 grades- Pharmaceutical, Food and Industrial. Succinic acid has now been included among the top 12 value added bio-based chemicals by The US Department of Energy as it is the most important chemicals in the value chain of many industries. Also, the global production levels of succinic acid are expected to clock higher double digit growths in the years to come.
The current value of annual production volume for petro- and bio-based succinic acid (including derivatives) is benched approximately at 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes worldwide. There has been a major year-on-year growth since the last few years, and the trend is expected to continue over the coming decade, owing to the growing applications and movement of the chemical industry towards bio-based sustainable chemicals. Petro-based succinic acid was the most commonly used globally until recently; however, the emphasis is gradually shifting towards the production & consumption of the bio-based version to serve as the starting material for the production of high-volume & high-value chemicals and to reduce the negative impact of conventional succinic acid on the environment at large.
1, 4 BDO, the largest application of succinic acid has been increasing steadily over the last few years, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming decade as well. The demand is rising at a very high rate in the Asia-Pacific region, primarily due to the growing industrialization and manufacturing sector. Other application markets like Polyurethane, Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care industry etc. are also witnessing increasing demand from manufacturers of personal hygiene products and medical accessories driven by substantial investment in R&D that has further led to major product innovations and preference for expensive & effective pharmaceuticals & cosmetics product globally. All these applications have huge growth potentials which are ultimately giving a push to the growth of the succinic acid market and related industries at large.
Some of the key players in the global succinic acid market are Myriant, BioAmber, Reverdia, Succinity GmbH and Linyi Lixing. BioAmber and Myriant have recently come up with breakthrough biotechnology in commercial production (using a GE organism to produce succinic acid from glucose), offering the twin benefits of being cost competitive and functionally superior with a better environmental footprint. With a moderate degree of integration from manufacturers and backward integration from manufacturers to the raw material suppliers, many of them are directly involved in the supply of the product and its captive consumption for many different applications. This has given rise to the possibility of a more holistic integration across the value chain to arrive at a continuous supply of raw materials and low production costs. Thus a clear indication of the fact that increased production of succinic acid are pushing the industry to attain greater heights.
Author: Pratik Patra
Pratik is a Writer, Artist, and Technocrat from India. He is an engineer from IIT Bombay and is currently pursuing his MBA from XIMB.