Hexane is a solvent present in volatile fraction of various plants such as guava, orange, and others. It is a hydrocarbon made of carbon and hydrogen. Hexane is an unbranched isomer (n-hexane), which exists in forms with different arrangements of atoms but with the same molecular weight. Hexanes are significant constituents of gasoline.
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Hexane is an organic solvent made from crude oil. It is used in various applications. Hexane contains a blend of hydrocarbons with six carbon atoms. It is widely used in the manufacture of industrial products. Two different types of hexane are available in the market: hexane-pure hexane and solvent-based hexane. Pure hexane is only used in laboratories, while, solvent-based hexane is extensively employed in several application. Hexane is used to extract oil from seeds. This increases the cost of the process and also carries the risk of toxicity. An alternative substitute has been developed that helps extract oil from several seeds by using sodium hydroxide and methanol. This process has been implemented with considerable success in soya bean seeds. The only drawback related to this process is the moisture content. Moisture content is the only drawback related to this process. High moisture content results in excess utilization of methanol in order to extract oil from seeds.
Solvent-based hexane; is used to extract vegetable oils from crops such as soybeans, cottonseed, rape seed, mustard seed, and safflower seed, etc. Solvent-chemical hexane is also widely used as cleaning agent in textile, printing, furniture and leather industries. It is also employed in various consumer products including glues, gasoline, rubber, and cement. Several properties of hexane are hazardous to human beings, excess inhalation may result in weakness, numbness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 500 ppm for hexane to protect the health of several workers engaged in hexane production facilities across the globe. However, hexane has certain beneficial properties. For instance, it is used in the removal of unwanted taste and odor. This is anticipated to drive the demand for hexane in the edible oil industry, as hexane is used in the manufacturing of several grades of cooking oils. Rising population coupled with increasing demand for refined oil, for cooking purposes is estimated to boost the demand for hexane in the near future.
In terms of production and consumption, countries is Asia Pacific, especially, China dominates the global hexane market. Asia Pacific has been a lucrative market for the production and distribution of hexane in countries such as China, Japan, and India .Therefore, several manufacturers in Europe and North America are shifting their production facilities to Asia Pacific owing to the availability of skilled labor at affordable rates. The hexane market in North America and Europe is expected to expand at a rapid pace owing to the high demand for rubber products used in the automotive industries.
The hexane market can be segmented based on type, and application. In terms of type, the hexane market can be divided into – n-hexane, iso-hexane, and neo-hexane. Based on application, the hexane market can be segregated into – pharmaceutical, cooking oil, automotive, chromatography, textiles, furniture, printing, paint & coatings, adhesives, shoes & leather products, and roofing. Commercial grades of hexane are used as solvents in the manufacture of rubber, glues, cement, adhesives, varnishes, and inks. Hexane is also used as a cleaning agent (degreaser) in the printing industry. It is used as liquid in low temperature thermometers.
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Prominent players operating in the hexane market include Exxon Mobil Corporation, Rompetrol Rafinare S.A., Chevron Philips Chemicals LLC, Royal Dutch Shell plc, GreenChem Industries, Hukill Chemical Corp., and Continental Chemical.