Chloromethane, also known as methyl chloride, HCC-40 or R-40 belongs to a group of organic compounds called haloalkanes. It is an extremely flammable colorless gas which is usually detected at toxic levels. Chloromethane is synthesized by boiling a mixture of sodium chloride, sulfuric acid and methanol. Significant amount of chloromethane is produced naturally in the oceans by the action of sunlight on chlorine and biomass in sea foam. It is majorly used in manufacturing silicone polymers, butyl rubber and in petroleum refining. Chloromethane was initially used as a refrigerant, but was discontinued on account of its flammability and toxicity. Due to its substantial toxic effects, it is no longer used in consumer products.
Different types of chloromethanes such as methyl chloride, methylene chloride, chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride are produced in the industry. Methyl chloride is the largest segment and is also the most important type of chloromethane, largely used in medical and pharmaceutical industries. In terms of application, the silicone industry is expected to witness the fastest growing application segment over the forecast period due to the rising demand from medical and personal care industries. Moreover, growing household incomes, rising living standards and an ever-expanding middle class in Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW) are contributing to the boost in demand for high quality products containing silicone. China has been the most attractive market in Asia Pacific for chloromethane with a significant potential for massive growth in certain end-user industries such as automotives and pharmaceuticals.
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The global market for chloromethane is expected to witness a moderate growth with leading manufacturers such as AkzoNobel N.V. and The Dow Chemical Company implementing strategies to balance the demand-supply issues. Various regulations supporting the production of chloromethane across different regions, as well as new application development across the vertical industries are expected to be important growth factors in the chloromethane market. Asia Pacific accounts for the largest market for chloromethane on account of minimal regulations and rising industrial activities in end-user industries such as pharmaceuticals. In addition, significant population demand and improving infrastructure are also expected to contribute towards the growth of the market. Various emerging and developed economies such as China, India and Japan are anticipated to witness significant growth on account of high-growth potential for chemical intermediates, foam blowing agents and pharmaceuticals. The market for chloromethane in other regions such as Europe is highly regulated owing to growing environmental concerns related to industrial toxic gas emissions.
Growing demand for chloromethane from the silicone industry in various applications such as transportation, automotive, medical and personal care is expected to be one of the major drivers for the chloromethane market. Strong performance attributes of silicone has enabled its application across a host of industries thereby contributing towards the growth of chloromethane market. However, growing health concerns regarding the hazardous use of chloromethane owing to its toxicity and flammability is expected to slow down the growth of the market. Focus on research and development (R&D) activities towards developing innovative techniques used for the production of chloromethanes are expected to provide new opportunities for the growth of the market.
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Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., Alfa Aesar, Akzonobel N.V., Ercros S.A, Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd., INEOS Group, Kem One, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd., Solvay, SRF Ltd., The Dow Chemical Company and Tokuyama Corporation are some of the key players present in the industry.