What is a Substitute for Glycol?

Glycols are versatile compounds used in a wide range of industries, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. However, some glycols, such as propylene glycol and butylene glycol, have come under scrutiny due to potential health concerns. As a result, many manufacturers are seeking natural and safer alternatives to these glycols.

Natural Replacements for Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol


1,3-Propanediol is a plant-derived, renewable resource that is considered a safe and effective alternative to propylene glycol and butylene glycol. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a mild odor and a slightly sweet taste. 1,3-Propanediol is produced through the fermentation of corn sugar and is readily biodegradable.


Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is a natural humectant that is found in plants and animals. It is a thick, colorless liquid with a sweet taste. Glycerin is a byproduct of the soap-making process and is also produced through the fermentation of sugars. Glycerin is non-toxic and is considered safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Other Natural Glycol Substitutes

In addition to 1,3-propanediol and glycerin, there are a number of other natural compounds that can be used as glycol substitutes. These include:

  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol
  • Maltitol
  • Lactitol

These compounds are all naturally occurring sugars that have humectant properties. They are non-toxic and are considered safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Advantages of Using Natural Glycol Substitutes

There are several advantages to using natural glycol substitutes over traditional glycols. These advantages include:

  • Reduced health concerns: Natural glycol substitutes are generally considered safer than traditional glycols. They are less likely to cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, or other health problems.
  • Improved sustainability: Natural glycol substitutes are derived from renewable resources and are biodegradable. This makes them a more sustainable option than traditional glycols, which are derived from petroleum.
  • Enhanced performance: Natural glycol substitutes can often provide better performance than traditional glycols. They can be more effective at moisturizing the skin, reducing wrinkles, and improving the appearance of the skin.

There are a number of natural and safe alternatives to propylene glycol and butylene glycol. These alternatives offer a number of advantages over traditional glycols, including reduced health concerns, improved sustainability, and enhanced performance. Manufacturers who are looking to replace propylene glycol or butylene glycol in their products should consider using one of these natural alternatives.

Propylene and butylene glycol: new alternatives to ethylene glycol in conjugated polymers for bioelectronic applications

M. Moser, Y. Wang, T. C. Hidalgo, H. Liao, Y. Yu, J. Chen, J. Duan, F. Moruzzi, S. Griggs, A. Marks, N. Gasparini, A. Wadsworth, S. Inal, I. McCulloch and W. Yue, Mater. Horiz. , 2022, 9, 973 DOI: 10. 1039/D1MH01889B.

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Propylene and butylene glycol: new alternatives to ethylene glycol in conjugated polymers for bioelectronic applications†

a University of Oxford, Department of Chemistry, Oxford, UK

b Guangzhou Key Laboratory of Flexible Electronic Materials and Wearable Devices, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China; email: [email protected]; State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technologies, Key Laboratory for Polymeric Composite and Functional Materials of the Ministry of Education, School of Materials and Engineering sysu. edu. cn, yuew5@mail. sysu. edu. cn.

c King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Organic Bioelectronics Laboratory, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; email: sahika; Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE). inal@kaust. edu. sa.

d Imperial College London, Chemistry Department and Plastic Electronics Center, London, United Kingdom

e King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; KAUST Solar Center (KSC)

Currently, ethylene glycol (EG) chains are used in a large number of high-performance conjugated polymers used as OECT channel materials to give the materials mixed ionic-electronic conduction properties; alternative hydrophilic moieties are given less attention. While some ionic conduction in hydrated channels requires a certain amount of hydrophilicity, too much causes excessive swelling, which may have negative effects on charge transport. To maximize electrical performance, a delicate balance must be struck. Here, a range of polymers with a bithiophene–thienothiophene conjugated backbone were created, and the traditional EG chains were replaced with their equivalents in propylene and butylene. Propylene and butylene chains, in particular, were found to provide polymers with a more hydrophobic character, which decreased excessive water uptake during OECT operation and greatly increased the electronic charge carrier mobility of the polymers. The newly created oligoether chains maintained high enough levels of hydrophilicity to allow bulk volumetric doping, even though the polymers absorbed less water. This allowed the development of polymers with improved OECT performance.



What is an alternative to glycol?

Eco-friendly alternatives An alternative is using natural vegetable propylene glycol, obtained from vegetable glycerin that comes from rapeseed oil, an oil that is extracted from the seeds of this plant. Another idea is propanediol, known as vegetable glycol, derived from corn sugar.

What is a good substitute for propylene glycol?

What is it? Propanediol is a humectant and solvent derived from corn sugar. It is a good natural alternative to propylene glycol.

What can be used in place of propylene glycol?

2-Methyl-1,3-propanediol (MPO) is a non-toxic, liquid glycol alternative used in a broad range of industries as a chemical derivative, resin intermediate, reactive diluent, viscosity reducing agent, solvent, carrier, emollient, humectant, and heat transfer fluid.

What is a safe alternative to ethylene glycol?

Propylene glycol fluids are often selected because of their low acute oral toxicity vs. the moderate acute oral toxicity of ethylene glycols.

Is propylene glycol a glycerin substitute?

Also known as PG, propylene glycol is commonly used as a glycerin substitute in cosmetic and toiletry products because it is typically cheaper. Derived from petroleum, high-level and concentrated exposure to PG is believed to cause abnormalities of the liver, brain and kidneys.

What is a substitute for icing sugar?

You can replace icing sugar with lump sugar, stevia, agave syrup, sweeteners, or honey. Your choice will depend on your tastes, preferences, and if there is any underlying pathology.

Is propanediol a good substitute for propylene glycol?

Propanediol is an excellent substitute for propylene glycol, which, although has been determined to be safe when used in skincare, we can’t forget that it was named the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s Allergen of the Year back in 2018 due to its bad rap for causing contact dermatitis.

Can ethylene glycol be used as an antifreeze?

This results in a high boiling point—198°C; thus ethylene glycol does not boil away when it is used as an antifreeze. It is also completely miscible with water. A solution of 60% ethylene glycol in water freezes at −49°C (−56°F) and thus protects an automobile radiator down to that temperature.

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