Ethyl acetate: Innovations in Management

May 2021

The increasingly rapid pace of globalization has fueled demand for ethyl acetate. Industry reports show that the global market for ethyl acetate is expected to grow by 6% over the next five years to reach 16 million tons in 2020.

Ethyl acetate is an organic compound that is a liquid at room temperature and pressure and widely used in paints, lacquers, varnishes, soft drinks, and other applications. Its growth has been attributed to its low cost and ease of use across diverse industries as well as broader global distribution channels.

However, the oil and gas industry, which accounts for more than 40% of ethyl acetate demand, is forecast to grow at a slower pace over the forecast period, as companies focus more on increasing production in existing fields and improving efficiency in existing equipment.

In terms of geographic spread, China dominates the global ethyl acetate market. Over the years, Chinese companies produced about one third of the global supply. Other Asian companies account for an additional 70% of ethyl acetate production. The region continues to dominate with its availability and competitive pricing.

The United States produces more than 34% of global ethyl acetate. However, the U.S. industry is fragmented among companies producing less than 100,000 tons per year and those producing more than 100,000 tons per year. The U.S. industry has also been plagued with flooding in recent years that negatively impacted production; however, the industry is slated to see growth over the next five years due to increased use across a variety of industries as well as new technologies that should result in greater efficiency and cost savings.

Europe and Central Asia account for about 24% of global production. The region's ethyl acetate industry has seen an increase in production as companies seek to use the substance for a wide range of applications and meet demand from consumers across industries.

The Middle East and Africa industry is forecast to grow at a slower pace over the next five years due to challenges in ethyl acetate prices, which have remained stable or decreased over the last several years, especially in light of global demand for the substance and supply restrictions. The industry is expected to see growth as producers shift focus away from refining liquid hydrocarbons and toward selling ethyl acetate, which can be used as a preservative. Ethyl acetate is an organic compound commonly used as a solvent for fats, oils, and resins. It is one of the most industrially important esters.

"What the heck?" you might be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with anything?" Well, it turns out that ethyl acetate is not just a solvent — it can also be used in other applications! That's right: while chemical manufacturers may use ethyl acetate to release certain substances from other liquids (this process is called extraction), we found another way to use this somewhat interesting chemical. Who knew?

Through the help of an ingenious little device, we can squeeze ethyl acetate from a long, thin tube into a test tube. We then proceed to expose the liquid to heat and an electric current, causing it to evaporate! So what happens when we expose ethyl acetate to heat? It boils! And what happens when it boils? It creates steam!

So how do steam bottles work, anyway? You may be thinking that this is one of those questions with a complicated answer that no one would want to read. But surprisingly, it's not! In fact, you could explain how steam bottles work in under five minutes, right now (hint: it involves boiling).

It takes a little bit of pressure to create a steam bottle. When you squeeze the plastic bottle, air is pushed out. Since air pressure is what pushes against liquid, when the air pressure is lowered, so is the pressure that pushes against the liquid trapped inside. This makes it easier for the liquid to boil and create steam — or in this case, ethyl acetate!

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