An oleophilic material is an entity which exhibits a higher affinity for oil than other solvents. The non-polar nature and ability to form cluster-like structures called micelles are the characteristic properties of oleophilic materials. Oleophilic materials are ideally suited to be engineered in formulations of cleaners, detergents, metal plates in printers, separators, and skimmers.
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The market for oleophilic materials can be segmented on the basis of raw material, application, function, and region. The market is subdivided on the basis of raw material into polypropylene, polyurethane, and aerogels. In terms of function, the market can be segmented into cleaning agents, separation agents, printing, and others. Oleophilic materials have historically been used in other applications such as skimmers to separate hydrocarbon oils and impurities. Based on application, the market for oleophilic materials can be segmented into oil recovery, detergents, coatings, and others.
Based on region, the oleophilic materials market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Most of the key players in the industry are located in the North American region. Among them, oil spillage recovery is the key focused area.
The oleophilic materials market is in its incubation phase owing to global dynamics of low demand in terms of volume and low degree of market penetration by materials. Rapid increase in commissioning of crude oil producing operations in the Middle East in congregation to lower costs of manpower and availability of technology is driving the oleophilic materials market. The other historically dynamic North American and the Western European firms are also investing and commissioning their operations in previously untapped market further creating a demand for such materials. The industry has observed low overall growth in the last decade with increase in global oil and gas industries.
Oil producing upstream companies and operators are also under pressure from governments and environmental activists to develop damage restraining and remediation protocols in case of oil spills. Recent oil spills have acted as catalysts to the industry with fines and lawsuits affecting the balance sheets of companies by billions of dollars.
The application of oleophilic materials in combating damages from oil spills is likely to drive the market during the forecast period. However, absence of large-scale research and innovation over the years has hampered the oleophilic materials market. The recent decline in the prices of crude oil and further value addition in cost due to application of oleophilic materials in the operational regime is likely to hamper the market. Allocation of capital and resources in R&D is likely to increase market penetration and offer new opportunities to the oleophilic materials market in the near future.
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Oleophilic materials has emerged as a niche, untapped segment of the chemical industry across the globe. Key players involved in the market include Miller Environmental Group, Seashell Technology LLC, and International Environmental Products.
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