The furfural market is a B2B trade, which has attractive niche clients that offer longterm off-take agreements.
Traditional and New Markets
Although the (traditional) furfural industry has been affected by the global economic crisis, however, environmental factors (global warming, environmentally friendly products, etc.) provide a strong basis for a continued market growth . Whilst all the above-mentioned products could be derived from biomass other new uses have been developed or are under development. We have a particular interest in the following areas:
Replacement of Methyl Bromide and (other toxic) Nematicides by furfural based products, with special focus on the treatment of turf.
Modification of wood by furfuryl alcohol based formulations (to substitute Tropical Hardwood or CCA treated timber)
Fuel additives (for biodiesel or ethanol based fuels; furanics)
Biobased performance plastics, Natural Polyurethanes, etc.
To conceptualise the potential market for furfural (first produced in 1922), one needs to see this product as both a simple industrial chemical and as a bio-renewable substitute for fossil feedstock with a multitude of downstream applications. It is a true platform chemical. The target market is a select set of companies, namely direct users or companies involved in product beneficiation. The latter would include the growing number of furfuryl alcohol (FA) producers.
Since the 1990s, the supply of furfural has stagnated or even disappeared (e.g. in the USA) due to lack of feedstock and the absence of improved production technologies. The growth in China was based in essence on 1920s technologies, but now faces the same feedstock supply issues (availability and costs) as the USA did in the 1990s. Since furfural represents a truly sustainable platform-chemical for many ‘green’ applications, their commercialisation has been stymied by the lack of a stable supply.
The global trend toward biobased products is stimulating the increased demand for furfural and its derivatives. The product’s traditional applications are providing demand stability, while new applications are driving prices upwards (NB: As a reference, please refer to our 2002 data). New applications have further changed the key price drivers for the product. While previously determined by the availability of raw material supply, new applications together with increasing energy prices have become the new price determinants.
There are no spot markets for furfural prices. Even the B2B price offers on the internet do not reflect the actual market, as there is no reference to the actual volumes sold. To some degrees, Chinese export statistics provide a historical summary of volumes and export prices. For almost 20 years, DalinYebo’s traders have been tracking the Chinese FOB prices.
In the 1950’s, when the potential of furfural as a platform chemical was gaining wide recognition, chemistry of the many furfural derivatives developed rapidly.
Since then, these derivatives find application in liquid fuels, polymers, textiles and construction materials to name a few of the high-volume markets. However, the post war hydrocarbon revolution with its cheap crude oil prices denied the biobased furfural that opportunity, since furfural derivatives were unable to match the price of oil-based chemicals. Not many people know that at the time a furfural plant in the Dominican Republic was built to supply the raw material to make Nylon®.
Only a handful of people know that furfural is also a pre-cursor to make PolyTHF, which was the first polyol used to make polyurethanes and is also the building block to make spandex fibres (better known as Lycra®!) or solid elastomers (skate wheels, belts, and rollers), as well as flexible adhesives and coatings. Regrettably, until recently crude oil derivatives have been exclusively used to make these chemicals.
Fundamentally, DalinYebo‘s business is about furfural and its many by-products. All our revenue streams are determined by this MARKET, irrespective whether they are derived from co-activities, such as the energy production or technology, consulting, chemicals sales, etc.
We are well experienced in dealing with the cyclical nature of the chemical business in the context of agriculture and its dependency on weather conditions.
Market Analysis (Abstract) [for registered users]
Furfural Price Tracker [for registered users]
Furfural Pricing (in China) [for our clients]
Market Access: Masterkey
Marketing: DalinYebo Trading and Development (Pty) Ltd