Soy polyols are vegetable-oil based polyols. Soy polyols are important industrial prepolymeric materials that use renewable resources. Soy polyols react with isocyanates to produce polyurethane foams such as rigid, flexible, and semi-rigid foams. Soy polyols are produced at a lower cost than polyols derived from petrochemicals. Several of the processes such as bio catalysis, transesterification, and polymerization are utilized to increase equivalent weights and hydroxyl functionality of soy-based polyols that are used in polyurethane formulations. These polyurethanes have different valuable properties, determined by their chemical composition and cross-linking density.
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In terms of application, the soy polyols market can be segmented on polyurethane formation, and industrial applications such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, flexible molded, rigid molded, slabstock, and spray foam insulation applications. Increasing awareness regarding soy polyols in various industrial applications such as lubricants, additives, and solvents is expected to drive the global market during the forecast period. Of all the applications, the most dominant application of the soy polyols is in the production of the polyurethane foams. Polyurethane foams are of many sub segments such as flexible, rigid, and semi-rigid.
Flexible polyurethane foam is currently the dominant application segment of the soy polyol market. Increasing adoption and preference for the usage of bio based materials across the world has led to the rise in usage of renewable and sustainable products. Soy polyols in the polyurethane flexible foam application, is escalating due to its growing consumption of the polyurethane foams for the manufacture of automotive seats, beddings, and other consumables.
The primary driver for the soy polyol market is the low price of the polyurethane products which are based on these polyols and the environmental friendly nature of these polyols. Soy polyols perform like their petrochemical counterparts and in some cases, soy polyols based foams are even enhanced with lighter weight, more strength, and better durability. Presently, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a major concern. Increased usage of petrochemical-based products is leading to the emission of considerable amounts of VOCs, thereby degrading the environment. Several government initiatives to reduce the emissions of the VOCs is also boosting the soy polyols market. Volatile petroleum prices over the last few years is anticipated to boost the demand for soy polyols during the forecast period.
In terms of region, the soy polyols market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is the dominant market for soy polyols. This is due to the rising preference for and consumption of materials and chemicals that have a lower carbon impact and those that are recyclable or derived from non-polluting resources. Asia Pacific is a prominent vegetable oil producing region in the world, and thus holds a major share of the global soy polyols market. Countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia hold a major share in the production of these vegetable oils. The market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is also anticipated to expand at a significant growth rate during the forecast period. Expansion of the construction industry coupled with the increase in automobile sale is estimated to drive the sol polyols market in Latin America.
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Key companies operating in the global soy polyols market include Cargill, and Honeybee Polyol, and BioBased Technologies, LLC.
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