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Collective name for all pure (monoconstituent) or mixed (multiconstituent) chemical compounds with a defined or unknown/variable physicochemical structure and composition produced by chemical processes in the laboratory, pilot plant, or in industry. Depending on the temperature and pressure chemicals can exist in different states of matter such as gaseous, liquid, solid, or as plasma. Depending on the application field and production volume, chemicals can be divided into bulk and fine chemicals. For chemicals there is a wide range of application fields which are also relevant as intermediates or ingredients for products covered in this database (including Energy and fuels, Food ingredients, and Materials).

Bulk chemicals

Bulk chemicals (or commodity chemicals) are representing a product group with large production volumes and a wide field of applications in the sectors of polymers (see Materials), dyes & coatings (see Materials), agriculture, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cleaning, as well as transportation and energy (see Energy and fuels). Beside large production volumes (> 1,000 tonnes annual), bulk chemicals are characterised by a low price (up to $ 1 per kilogram).

Fine chemicals

The fine chemicals are characterised by the production of complex, single, pure chemicals, usually with a low volume (< 1,000 tonnes annually) and a high price (> $ 10 per kilogram)[1]

Specific chemicals

Depending on the structure, composition, and application field the chemicals can be divided into different groups. The following non-exhaustive list shows the potential main groups. The decision support tool aids the search for suitable conversion technologies capable to produce these chemicals from food waste as well as garden and park waste.

  • Agriculture
    • Antimicrobial compounds
    • Biostimulants
    • Chito-oligosaccharides
    • Fertilisers
    • Pesticides
    • Pheromones
  • Bulk chemicals TMO
    • Acetonitrile
    • Acrylic derivatives
    • Alcohols
    • Butanediol
    • Butanol
    • Chemical building blocks
    • Isobutanol
    • Lactic acid
    • Solvents
  • Enzymes
  • Food
    • Antimicrobial peptides
    • Arabinose
    • Fucosylated carbohydrates
    • Peptides
    • Proteins
    • Specialty carbohydrates
    • Sugar monomers
    • Sugars
    • Triacylglycerides
    • Vanillin
  • Fuels
    • Ethanol
    • Fuel additives
    • Glycerol tertiary butyl ether
  • Personal & home care
    • Biomedical applications
    • Biosurfactants
    • Bola sophorolipids
    • Cosmetic ingredients
    • Detergent ingredients
    • Detergents
    • Fragrances
    • Galacturonic acid
    • MELs
    • Rhamnolipids
    • Sophorolipids
    • Xylolipids
  • Polymers, packaging & biomaterials
    • Bioester polyols
    • Butadiene
    • Cement additives
    • FDCA
    • Nano additives
    • Polycarbonate building blocks
    • Super plasticisers
    • Xylan
  • Specialty chemicals
    • Antifouling compounds
    • Aromatics
    • Di-amines
    • Diols
    • Emulsifiers
    • Flame retardants
    • Formic acid
    • Lubricants
    • Muconic acid
    • Organic acids
    • Phenolic resins


  1. Panizza, M., 2018: Fine Chemical Industry, Pulp and Paper Industry, Petrochemical Industry and Pharmaceutical Industry. Electrochemical Water and Wastewater Treatment. Martínez-Huitle, C. A., Rodrigo, M. A. and Scialdone, O. (Ed.). Elsevier Inc., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.