The global soy chemicals market is forecast to reach over $13 billion by the year 2017, spurred by the anticipated high demand from the bio-diesels market and growing adoption of alternative renewable sources of energy, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. Soy-derived chemicals such as soy-based foamed plastics, polyols, methyl soyate, fatty acids and waxes, in particular, hold tremendous potential for future growth. Increases in petrochemical and crude oil prices, combined with rising environmental concerns, generated several opportunities for sustainable/renewable raw materials. The scenario bodes well for the soybean and other chemicals made from sunflowers, corn, algae, and other renewable sources.

Market penetration of soy chemicals is likely to expand with the continued hike in prices of petrochemicals and the enhanced performance of soy chemicals over petrochemical-based materials. Health benefits, as well as rising demand of natural ingredients for consumer products, str projected to bolster the market for natural extracts. Refined industrial soybean oil is projected to earn low revenues, as the oil is used for saturated and declining application areas such as alkyd resins and newspaper inks.

In the soy chemicals category, methyl soyate is the most established market owing to its dominance in the bio-diesel sphere. The chemical is also used as a solvent in various other applications areas, such as cleaning products and coatings.

The market for soy-polyols and other oil-derived chemicals is expected to grow as a result of corporate initiatives encouraging the usage of sustainable and renewable feedstock. In addition, rising consumer demand for environmentally friendly products, specifically in the coatings and plastic markets, is expected to boost long-term prospects. Smaller volume markets such as consumer wax, adhesives and lubricants are expected to grow in the future. Major factors driving demand for soy chemicals include rising environmental concerns and enhanced products, such as soy protein flour finding application in the wood adhesives market. In consumer wax applications, soy waxes are increasingly penetrating the commercial candle market due to their ability to support high fragrance loading and clean burn.

The U.S. and Asia-Pacific make up two of the largest markets for soy chemicals, according to the report. In view of long-term growth potential, the developing markets of Latin America and Asia-Pacific are projected to surge ahead at a CAGR of more than 9.0% through 2017. By end-use segment, the biodiesel market displays dramatic expansion over the years and reigns as the largest end-user of soy chemicals. However, over the long-term, the plastics segment is forecast to race ahead at the highest compounded rate of 8.5% during the analysis period.

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