2,3-Butanediol is an isomer of butanediol. It is produced by using a process called butanediol fermentation, which involves indulging of a variety of microorganisms such as Enterobacter species or microbes found in the gut. This process is anaerobic fermentation of glucose, which yields 2,3-butanediol as one of the end-products. On consumption by humans, 2,3-Butanediol is oxidized into acetyl-CoA via acetoin. Naturally, 2,3-butanediol is found in cocoa butter. It is primarily used in food additives and ingredients, as a flavoring agent. It is also employed in pharmacology. It is also extensively used in biochemical research activities to study biological effects on mice.
Based on application, the 2,3-butanediol market can be segmented into plastics, food additives, and bio-pesticides. 2,3-Butanediol is currently available as a laboratory chemical and is being sold as a small-volume intermediate for certain niche applications such as food flavoring additives. 2,3-Butanediol was earlier used as a feedstock to manufacture butadiene for synthetic rubber. However, it has now been abandoned, favoring the use of a more cost-effective option of naphtha-based butanediol.
In 2014, LanzaTech produced carbon monoxide-based 2,3-butanediol at a pilot facility with a capacity of 15,000 gal/year in Glenbrook, New Zealand. In April 2014, LanzaTech started operating its ethanol demonstration facility in Shanghai, China with a capacity of 100,000 gal/year, by using carbon monoxide from a neighboring steel mill owned by its partner Baosteel Group, which is the largest steel producer in China. The 2,3-butanediol market is currently very limited, due to the difficulty in separation of intermediates into downstream derivatives such as butanediol, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and butenes.
Based on region, the global 2,3-butanediol market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. In terms of consumption, Asia Pacific held a major share of the global 2,3-butanediol market in 2017 and the trend is likely to continue during the forecast period as well. The market in Asia Pacific is projected to register a significant growth rate during the forecast period.