Chlorinated Solvents Market New Market Study by ECSA Indicates Recovery of Chlorinated Solvents in 2010

Editor: Dominik Stephan

After turbulent years in the aftermath of the economic crisis in 2008/2009, the market for chlorinated solvents slowly recovers. A recent release by the ECSA announces good news for the sector.

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(Picture: ECSA/Chlor Europe)
(Picture: ECSA/Chlor Europe)

Brussels/Belgium – Basic chemicals like chlorine and caustic soda not only face a strong international competition from emerging markets but are also especially impacted by market fluctuations. The turnovers of chlorinated solvents dropped drastically in the wake of the economy crisis in 2008, but seem to be recovering by now as a recent market study by the European Chlorianted Solvents Association ECSA shows. Although the industry still falls short of the 2006 all-time high, recent figures indicated a good performance of Methylene Chloride, says the ECSA. The sales of Perchloroethylene, used as a solvent for dry cleaning, remained more or less stable.

A total of 157,000 tonnes of Dichloromethane and Perchloroethylene were sold by ECSA member companies in 2010 - that is an average increase of about 9 percent compared with the previous year, ECSA officials say. These figures also show better sales than in 2010, at the eve of the economic crisis.

Recovery of Dichlormethane Market, New Applications for Trichlorethylene

Dichlormethane (DCM) sales showed good values for 2010: a total of 113,000 tonnes, 13,000 tonnes more than 2009, were sold by the member cpompanies. The principal customers for DCM were pharmaceutical companies. Also the production of adhesives and as a process solvent is responsible for a lot of these sales.

A 2010 EU regulation that restricts the use of DCM in paint stripping for consumer use, effective since December 2010, could, nevertheless, have effects on the sales of DCM in the near future. Industrial use is not concerned by these restrictions.

Perchloroethylene (PER) has stabilized on its 2008 value of 44,00 tonnes per year. The use of PER as a substitue for Trichlorethylene could generate some future market shares, ECSA says.

Trichloroethylene Production Drops After Substance is Categorised as A Carcinogenic

Trichloroethylene (TRI) another potent chlorinated solvent is no longer examined by the ECSA since it became classified as a carginogenic (Carc. Cat 1b product) in 2002. For these products, the Industrial Emission Directive requires a replacement by a less dangerous substitute. Therefore Dow Europe, the Romanian producer Chimcomplex Borzeşti and the British importer Banner Chemicals have all signed a voluntary Industry commitment to ensure safe use in metal degreasing by stopping supplies of TRI to companies that are not equipped with closed systems after 2010. ECSA experts expect the industry to request exemptions for the use of TRI in closed systems.