Iso-octane also known as 2, 2, 4-trimethylpentane is an important component of gasoline, frequently used in relatively large proportions to increase the knock resistance of the fuel. Engine knocking is an unwanted process that can occur during combustion in internal combustion engines. Iso-octane is produced on a massive scale in the petroleum industry by distillation of petroleum. There are other methods of production as well. It can also be produced from isobutylene by dimerization (a variant of alkylation) using an amberlyst catalyst to produce a mixture of iso-octenes. Hydrogenation of this mixture produces 2, 2, 4-trimethylpentane. At present, using iso-octane as a fuel in investigations of homogeneous charge compression ignition engines (HCCI) is a very popular method, in which iso-octane is used both as a neat fuel and as a component in a primary reference fuel blend. This method was introduced by the need to improve the efficiency and performance of currently operating combustors and reduce the production of pollutant species emissions generated in the combustion process. Iso-octane is a primary reference fuel (PRF) for octane rating in spark ignition engines, and when used in compression ignition engines, has a cetane number of approximately 15
Increased global automotive activity is expected to drive the iso-octane market in the near future. Global expansions in demand for automotives/automobiles, improved vehicle design capabilities and increasing importance of weight reduction and emission control are the major factors driving the iso-octane market. However, inhalation or ingestion of large quantities of iso-octane or 2, 2, 4-trimethylpentane is harmful. In rare cases a stronger reaction can occur which may be a restraining factor for the growth of the iso-octane market.
In terms of demand, Asia Pacific was the leading region in iso-octane market. China had the largest demand for iso-octane owing to huge demand from the automobile industry. However, other countries such as India, Japan and Korea are likely to exhibit more demand for iso-octane in upcoming years. Rising population and changing lifestyles of consumers have been directly or indirectly driving the market and are expected to continue to do so in the next few years as well. Asia Pacific has experienced dynamic economic growth in the past decade. This trend is expected to continue in the next few years. Asia Pacific was followed by North America. U.S. had the largest demand for iso-octane. The demand was huge owing to increasing demand from various applications such as lubricants among others among others. Europe had the third largest market share in iso-octane market.
Growing demand from automobile industry is driving the iso-octane market in Europe. European countries such as Germany and the UK were the major consumers of iso-octane in this region. However, stringent environmental regulations associated with paints and coatings industry in European Union can act as a major restraint for the market in upcoming years. Rest of the World market is anticipated to have stable demand for iso-octane market in near future. Latin America is one of the largest markets for iso-octane in the Rest of the World. However, the Middle East region is anticipated to offer more opportunity for iso-octane market in upcoming years.
Some of the key players in the iso-octane market are Puyang Zhongwei Fine Chemical Co., Ltd., Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and Honeywell among others.