May 15, 2024

Global Polyethylene Glycols Market Snapshot

NexantECA - Global Polyethylene Glycols Market Snapshot

Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) refers to various oligomer or polymers of ethylene oxide (EO) and can be referred to as polyoxyethylene (POE) and polyethylene oxide (PEO). As different applications require different polymer chain lengths, PEG refers to oligomers and polymers with a molecular mass below 20 000 g/mol (ranging from 200 to 20 000 g/mol), while PEO refers to polymers with a molecular mass above 20 000 g/mol.  

PEGs are often produced by companies that use ethylene oxide (EO) to produce ethylene glycol, surfactants, polyether polyols or other specialty chemicals. The ethylene is mainly derived from petrochemical sources although there is also bio-ethylene capacity that comes from dehydrated ethanol.  PEG plants are commonly integrated and co-located with EO production facilities due to limitations in transporting EO.  

Depending largely on the length of the chain, PEGs can be a liquid or solid substance. Some solid product is also sold as a molten product. PEGs are typically inert and water-soluble and available in different grades tailored for various applications.  There are various types of PEGs, for example:   

  • PEG – homopolymer polyethylene glycol (of various molecular weights) 
  • mPEG – methoxy polyethylene glycol (polymers of ethylene oxide and methanol) 
  • vPEG – methallyl polyethylene glycol (is also referred to as hPEG, polymers of ethylene oxide and methallyl alcohol) 
  • tPEG – isoprenyl polyethylene glycol (polymers of ethylene oxide and isoprenol) 

Due to the diverse range of end uses, general PEGs demand follows the broader economic trends. The largest application for PEGs is in functional fluids, lubricants and solvents, followed by surfactants.  The PEG market is diversified, while the other PEGs are largely driven by concrete production which in turn is influenced by trends in the construction industry.  

Total demand for PEGs is expected to have strong growth over the next ten years, at nearly 4 percent.  PEG will have the highest growth of the four key PEGs.  The pharmaceutical industry will be a key growth driver. 


Global PEGs Demand by Type 


PEG capacity has increased considerably in the past 15 years mainly due to a large spate of new plants coming on stream in China. For mPEG, there has been substitution with vPEG and tPEG, which is reflected in the lower capacity increase for mPEG. Between 2008 and 2018, there was rapid growth in tPEG and vPEG capacity.  China dominates PEG demand, followed by North America and Western Europe 

Find out more… 

Market Insights: Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – 2024 

Market Insights: Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) includes discussion regarding key market trends, as well as demand analysis by product and end use including: 

  • PEG:  Surfactants, Functional Fluid and Lubricants and Solvents, Personal Care and Pharmaceuticals, Additives; 
  • mPEG, tPEG and vPEG: Concrete and Others. 

The regions analysed in this report include North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, China and Other Asia Pacific.  Analysis also includes the competitive landscape, capacity listing, value chain development, and  pricing trends by product and region.  



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