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Pre-Covid, post-Covid: The market trends

Price increases - The beginning of a 'super cycle'?

The complete shutdown of the economy in spring 2020 caused unprecedented overproduction in the global oil and gas market. In addition to the drastic fall in the price of ethylene glycol, this has resulted in significant downtime and significantly under-invested conditions in the field of oil and gas developments, exploration and extraction.

As the trends listed above are normally expected to last several months, often years, even in the face of a protracted pandemic and an accelerating carbon-free transition, an over-demand-driven correction in the price of fossil fuels was expected. Propylene glycol, which started 2020 at moderated price levels, experienced minimal price declines at the start of the pandemic, with prices showing steady growth since mid-2020, mainly due to surprisingly well-performing Asian internal markets.

This trend has also been recognizable over time in the price indices of glycol-based materials, which reached historical records in 2021 for both ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. In view of the significant price increases, many experts began to mention that a long-predicted ‘super-cycle’ might have arrived, which could affect the whole raw materials market. These types of cycles span a much longer period of time — often decades — than their ‘siblings’ in equity markets. A more accurate picture, of course, will only be visible after the coronavirus has subsided.

Current trends: Sustainability and the circular economy

Recently, the winds of sustainability and the circular economy are also beginning to touch the heat-transfer fluid market. This is embodied in two things: the emergence of the need for sustainably sourced heat transfer liquids and the development of the regeneration of used glycols.

Plant-based glycols, currently mostly propylene glycol, retain carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted during their use in a circular system due to the re-absorption effect of their raw materials. In contrast, the extraction of raw materials for glycols made from hydrocarbons and the destruction of the used glycols releases carbon dioxide that has been blocked for millions of years.

One of the pillars of the recently revived circular economy is the greatest possible regeneration and subsequent reuse. This is already possible in the field of glycol-based heat transfer liquids (ethylene or propylene glycol), thereby significantly reducing the extraction of fossil fuels for this purpose and thus reducing further CO2 emissions.

Vettó Kft's completed projects and future plans

Vettó Kft. is actively preparing for the challenges of the coming years, thus meeting the changing market expectations.

Maintaining the high quality of services such as professional consultancy and chemical distribution, the company has also added a new 100% plant-derived propylene glycol product to its portfolio called Bio-Propilen®. Compared to fossil hydrocarbon (oil and gas) media, the use of propylene glycol extracted from renewable raw materials does not entail any trade-off in terms of performance and quality.

For the first time on the domestic market, our company started distributing regenerated propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) and ethylene glycol (1,2-ethanoldiol): Propilen-Glecol® and Etilen-Glecol®.

At the moment, there is no more sustainable and climate-friendly type of glycol on the European market.

The composition, quality and heat-transfer properties of the products presented above are completely the same as the standard propylene and ethylene glycol currently available. In this way, users of these products can simultaneously contribute to an increasingly carbon-neutral and sustainable world and continue to operate as usual, which in many cases cannot be said about the green transition, affecting many industries.

Our company has also expanded its range of services by professionally regenerating the used glycol-based liquids. This is essential to ensure that glycols that may be contaminated in industrial systems do not cause serious environmental damage. In order to avoid the emission of harmful substances and greenhouse gases from the destruction process, our company plans to create a unit for glycol regeneration and purification in the future.


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