Solvents Market Growth by 2032 | Industry Analysis, Outlook

The global solvents market size was USD 49.42 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 52.65 billion in 2024 to USD 87.41 billion in 2032 at a CAGR of 6.0% over 2024 to 2032.

With the paints & coatings industry reeling from the effects of the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the solvents market growth is facing a notable decline. The primary reasons for this market’s truncated growth in 2020 include the massive shortage of factory workers, closure of manufacturing facilities, and shrinking availability of raw materials. In 2020, the market’s growth rate fell by 2.96% and it is predicted to reach USD 45,058.8 million in 2021.

Solvents are substances, usually liquids, that can dissolve other substances, known as solutes, to form a solution. They play a crucial role in various chemical, industrial, and everyday processes. Here’s an overview of solvents, their types, and their applications:

Types of Solvents

  1. Polar Solvents:
    • Water: The most common and widely used polar solvent. It dissolves a wide range of substances, including salts, sugars, acids, and bases.
    • Alcohols: Such as methanol and ethanol, which are used in both industrial and laboratory settings.
    • Acetone: A strong solvent used in many industrial processes and in nail polish removers.
  2. Non-Polar Solvents:
    • Hexane: Commonly used in the extraction of oils and fats.
    • Benzene: Used in chemical synthesis, although its use has declined due to health concerns.
    • Toluene: Used in paint thinners, adhesives, and chemical reactions.
  3. Aprotic Solvents:
    • Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO): Used in both industrial applications and as a reagent in organic synthesis.
    • Dimethylformamide (DMF): Commonly used in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and in the production of synthetic fibers.
  4. Protic Solvents:
    • Methanol and Ethanol: Apart from being polar, they are also protic, meaning they can donate hydrogen bonds.
    • Acetic Acid: Used in the production of esters and as a solvent in chemical reactions.

Applications of Solvents

  1. Industrial Applications:
    • Manufacturing: Solvents are used in the production of paints, coatings, adhesives, and inks.
    • Cleaning: Solvents like acetone and toluene are used to clean and degrease machinery and tools.
    • Extraction: Hexane is used in the extraction of vegetable oils from seeds and plants.
  2. Laboratory Uses:
    • Reactions: Solvents are used as mediums for chemical reactions, helping to dissolve reactants and control temperature.
    • Purification: Solvents like ethanol are used in recrystallization to purify compounds.
    • Chromatography: Solvents are used as mobile phases in various chromatography techniques to separate mixtures.
  3. Everyday Uses:
    • Household Cleaning: Solvents like isopropyl alcohol and acetone are used in cleaning products.
    • Personal Care: Ethanol is found in perfumes and hair sprays, while acetone is used in nail polish removers.
    • Automotive: Solvents are used in the formulation of car care products like waxes and cleaners.

Environmental and Health Considerations

The use of solvents comes with environmental and health considerations. Many organic solvents are volatile and can contribute to air pollution and pose health risks through inhalation. Efforts are being made to develop greener solvents that are less harmful to both the environment and human health. These include:

  • Water-Based Solvents: These are less toxic and more environmentally friendly compared to traditional organic solvents.
  • Ionic Liquids: These are salts in the liquid state that have low volatility and can be designed to be environmentally benign.
  • Supercritical Fluids: CO2 in its supercritical state is used as a green solvent in various extraction and cleaning processes.

AGC Chemicals Develops Eco-friendly Solutions for Cleaning Medical Devices

In March 2020, AGC Chemicals Americas announced the development and launch of AsahiKlin™ AE-3000 and AMOLEA™ AT2, the company’s newest fluorinated solvents. The novel offerings have been formulated to enable manufacturers to adhere to the stringent environmental regulations for the precision cleaning of medical devices. With traditional solvents such as n-propyl bromide and trichloroethylene being investigated by the US Environmental Agency for potential risks, AGC’s new formulations can function as the perfect alternative solutions for the manufacturing of chemicals for various end-use applications. Moreover, the solutions have no ozone depletion properties, low surface tension, and low global warming potential, making them ideal for cleaning a wide range of critical medical devices.

Increasing Demand for Paints & Coatings to Propel the Market

Paints and coatings are critical components in construction and building operations. With construction and infrastructure development activities gathering rapid momentum around the globe, the application areas of paints and coatings are speedily widening. For example, a study by Oxford Economics forecasts that the output value of construction activities will surge by 85% through 2030, reaching USD 15.5 trillion. This growth will be led by the intensifying demand for buildings & constructions in China, India, and the U.S. Solvents are highly useful in preventing the formation of clumps and globs in paints, while their cost-effectiveness, durability, and temperature resistance make them suitable in the formulation of coatings. Thus, the incredible growth of the construction industry will spawn spectacular opportunities for specialty chemicals in the forthcoming decade.

Industrial Cleaning Segment to Showcase Promising Progress

On the basis of application, the market has been divided into paints & coatings, printing inks, industrial cleaning, adhesives, and others. Among these, the industrial cleaning segment is expected to display excellent growth prospects as solvents are extensively deployed in industrial settings to remove dirt, dust, and oil remnants that gather on surfaces and crevices of machines, equipment, and the shop floor. In 2020, this segment held a share of 14.0% in the global market and a share of 13.6% in the China market.

Based on product type, the market is categorized into alcohols, ketones, esters, and others. By region, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Asia Pacific to Headline the Market with a Size of USD 17,676.7 Million

Asia Pacific is anticipated to dictate the solvents industry share during the forecast period, mainly on account of the enormous investments in infrastructure development projects by China and India. Furthermore, the exponential growth in the region’s construction industry will further accelerate the expansion of the market. The Asia Pacific market size stood at USD 17,676.7 million in 2020.

In Europe, the increasing preference for bio-based chemicals in critical industries will fuel the regional market, while the rising demand for oxygenated solvents is foreseen to aid market growth in Latin America.

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