Producers of surfactants and hard-surface cleaners around the world now have access to a major new supply of a highly cost-effective raw material, 2-propyl heptanol (2-PH). With the January start-up of its major new Oxo plant for chemical intermediates and finished products in Stenungsund, Sweden, Perstorp now has sufficient capacity to supply 2-PH to the merchant market as well as its own downstream operations.
Perstorp is now concluding Project Valerox, its largest plant investment ever, and the new Oxo plant is already manufacturing industrial quantities of various key materials—including 2-PH—for numerous applications, including plasticizers and lubricants. Most output is currently consumed internally in production of Perstorp’s Emoltene™ 100 PVC plasticizer, but Perstorp has now also become a significant supplier of 2-PH on the open market. The Oxo plant will be a reliable and stable source of this important raw material for surfactants.
“The global surfactants industry is increasingly calling for C10 fatty alcohols and our new capacity for high-purity 2-PH is an answer to that call,” says Jerker Olsson, Vice President Business Unit Oxo at Perstorp. “Our customers will be able to count on a reliable long-term supply of this very attractive alternative to existing offerings.”
Surfactant producers currently rely to a large extent on natural and synthetic C9-C12 linear and branched alcohols. These have recently been subject to swings in availability and price volatility. The new Perstorp facility now provides more stability to the supply side of the market while also offering consumers a product that has a highly attractive set of properties.
“2-PH is an excellent raw material for alcohol ethoxylates used in surfactants,” says Håkan Björnberg, Vice President Innovation. “It can be used as a replacement for other short-chain branched C9-C12 alcohols, as well as linear alcohol mixes.” 2-PH ethoxylates typically have excellent wetting power, good emulsifying power and good solubility. They have high surface activity and they are easy to combine in formulations.
“Ethoxylates based on Perstorp’s 2-PH offer a superior balance between wetting and foaming,” says Björnberg. “This product also has a good water solubility, making it an excellent choice for hard surface cleaning, and is easy to rinse off. It has a low tendency to form gels, good stability, and a degreasing power that is better than most other types and can replace nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).”
Perstorp also intends to offer 2-PH as a raw material for adhesives and lubricants. 2-PH acrylates offer increased tackiness and better low temperature performance for pressure sensitive adhesives formulations, for example, while 2-PH esters with adipic acid, find use in engine oils and gearbox lubricants.