Tall oil fatty acid (TOFA) is used for making plastics, coatings, metal working fluids, fluid additives, adhesives, and asphalt additives. However, besides these conventional end users, tall oil fatty acid is finding application in the biodiesel and soap and detergents industries. These two emerging uses of tall oil fatty acid are expected to drive the global tall oil fatty acid market.
Application of TOFA in the Biofuel Industry
Tall oil fatty acid (TOFA) is a byproduct of the paper industry and is composed primarily of free-fatty acids (FFAs). This feedstock is considered ideal for producing biodiesel. However, more research and development is required to explore the use of TOFA as a biofuel.
Several biofuel innovators in the global TOFA market are looking for ways to convert TOFA into biodiesel. Two process engineers, Joe Valdespino and Kirk Cobb, are currently working on the potential of TOFA as a biofuel and how to transform this product into a profitable product. Several companies in the global TOFA market are investing in R&D of this substance to use it as a biofuel. This application of TOFA is expected to pick up speed in the coming years, driving the global TOFA market.
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Application of TOFA in the Soap and Detergents Industry
The application of TOFA in the soap and detergents industry is not that new, but it is increasingly gaining popularity. The modern world is gearing towards using greener technology and products, and TOFA serves as a safer and environment-friendly product in the manufacturing of soap and detergent as compared to tallow fatty acids.
With the increasing demand for organic, natural, and even vegan products, the demand for tall oil fatty acid-based soaps and detergents is expected to grow at a high rate. The global TOFA market is segmented on the basis of product into linoleic acid, oleic acid, and others. TOFA is rich in oleic acid and other natural oils such as tallow fatty acids. Linoleic acid and oleic acid account for over 85% of TOFA’s internal composition. Oleic acid is extensively used in the soaps and detergents industry.
Geographically, the global TOFA market is driven by North America and Europe. These regions currently held over 75% of the global TOFA market. These regions are driven by the availability of quality raw material and the high production capacity of the paper industry. Japan in the Asia Pacific TOFA market is expected to hold a majority share in demand for tall oil fatty acid, followed by China.
Overall, the global TOFA market will show a moderate yet steady growth. According to a market research firm, Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global tall oil fatty acid market is projected to expand at a 4.2% CAGR and be worth US$1,050.0 million by 2022. In 2013, the global TOFA market was recorded at US$725.1 million.
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The top five companies hold the majority of the global TOFA market. Some of the top firms operating in the global tall oil fatty acid market are Harima Chemicals Group, Georgia Pacific, MeadWestvaco Corporation, Arizona Chemical Company, and Forchem Oy. Established players and new entrants in the market will greatly benefit from the opportunity of application of TOFA in the biofuel and organic soaps and detergents industry.