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Glycol - Uses and varieties

Glycols are man-made liquid chemicals that are created from crude oil and natural gas, and they are used in the production of many familiar household items including polyester fabric, plastic bottles, engine coolants. Glycol is also used as heat transfer fluid with antifreeze functions for a wide range of applications.

The world consumes approximately 20 billion litres of the various glycols each year, with about a fifth being used in North America. Demand for glycol continues to rise alongside increasing production of plastic based products and automobiles - especially in China.

As with all mass produced chemicals, commercial viability is increasingly subject to huge economies of scale and for this reason all small or older production plants are being shut-down. The last glycol production facility in the UK was at Wilton, Teesside and this ceased production in January 2010. All glycol used in the UK is now imported from Continental Europe, the USA and Middle East.

The main types of glycol used as a base for heat transfer fluid formulations are;

Propylene Glycol is available in two different forms; 1,2 Propanediol which is derived from crude oil and 1,3 Propanediol which is increasingly derived from vegetable feedstock.

Hydratech in cooperation with Evans Cooling Systems, Inc. of Connecticut, USA have formulated and patented several glycol blends that combine high thermal efficiency with being non-toxic. Please refer to our DTX range of products, available for use in all sectors.

Glycol