Linear Alpha Olefins (LAOs) are straight-chain hydrocarbons. They are characterized by a double bond in the terminal or alpha position. The production of linear alpha-olefins (LAOs) yields an entire range of even-numbered carbon chain-length LAOs varying from four carbons (butene-1) to more than thirty carbons (expressed as C30+).
The industrially important alpha-olefins are
The biggest outlet for LAOs are their use as comonomers for polyethylene production while other important end-uses include lubricants, plasticizers, oil-field & fine chemicals, detergent intermediates, lubricants, polybutene-1, pulp & paper and additives amongst others. The major applications for hexene-1 are in the polyethylene production while a very small volume is used as heptanol plasticiser.
The current global demand for total LAOs has more than doubled, from 2.0 million tons in 1995. Historically, the overall demand witnessed an aggregate growth rate of 4.0% in this time period, mainly supported by the strong demand from polyethylene and detergent alcohols as well as lubricants. The demand for LAOs was affected in 2008 with the market contracting by almost 5%, however, the market recovered in 2009 and by 2010; the demand bounced back to pre-economic downturn levels.
In the long term forecast till 2025, the demand from polyethylene is likely to reach 63% of the total LAOs demand and further increase to 65% of the total demand by 2030. On the other hand, the demand from detergent alcohols and lubricant applications will decline in the coming years to reach 8% each by 2025. The other applications are likely to maintain a similar share as witnessed in history, till the end of the forecast period. Hexene-1 percentage demand in comparison to other LAOs has grown at a faster pace. In the coming years, hexene-1 will substitute butene-1 especially in LLDPE applications replacing butene-1 s share in the total LAOs demand market. Prismane Consulting s LAOs integrated market model has tracked all LAOs with their production, demand-supply, and process-technologies for all full range and on-purpose capacities.