Advanced Phase Change Materials (APCM) are materials that can store or release energy when they change states. Heat is stored and released as and when the materials change state from solid to liquid or from solid to gas and vice versa. They are available in crystalline and amorphous forms. There are three major products of APCM namely, paraffin wax, salt hydrates, and other fatty acid based PCM. Reduced dependence on conventional resources coupled with the need for energy efficiency, phase change materials have an important role in future. Phase change materials have a unique structural combination. With this unique structure, these materials have the capability to store energy and release the stored energy. During the conversion process, it can either be converted from solid to liquid or liquid to solid depending on the requirement and the material being used.
With growing global focus on energy conservation, phase change materials are expected to play a pivotal role in the near future. They are extensive being used in applications such as HVAC, refrigeration, building and construction and energy storage among others. The growing construction industry in emerging countries such as India, Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa is expected to boost the demand for these products over the next couple of years. APCM provide high heat storage capacity in comparison to other conventional materials and are extensively being used in new energy efficient buildings. Europe has regulations in place, which deem it mandatory for buildings to be energy efficient which in turn would open new opportunities for APCM. The APCM market was valued at USD 480.8 million in 2013 and is expected to reach USD 1,765.8 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 20.7% from 2014 to 2020.
Paraffin waxes were the largest product segment accounting for over 45% of global APCM market in 2013. Paraffin waxes are extensively used in building and construction and HVAC systems due to their low cost and ease of operation. Salt hydrates were the second largest utilized PCM products and accounted for over one-third of the market in 2013. These are preferred in applications requiring high melting points and enthalpy as these materials have wider operating range. However, salt hydrates have a tendency to split into salt and hydrates and hence are not feasible for applications where it would come in contact with water of other chemicals. Other commonly used PCM include bio PCM and fatty acid based PCM, which have a small market share as of 2013.
Building and construction were the largest application of APCM accounting for over 20% of market revenue in 2013. Because of its ability to absorb and release energy at predictable temperatures, phase change materials are effective in controlling and maintaining the thermal environment in the building. Due to the high consumption of energy in buildings, and due to the highest potential for energy and environmental saving, energy efficiency is nowadays the priority of contemporary architecture and power industry. The use of APCM in HVAC system has gained significant importance as space heating is responsible for over 40% of energy consumption in a commercial building. This is expected to boost the demand for APCM in HVAc systems over the next six years. The other key applications include commercial refrigeration, transportation, cold storage and energy storage among others.
Europe was the largest regional market for PCM accounting for over 30% of the market in 2013. This is primarily due to the energy and climate package enacted by Europe in 2007. The climate and energy package is a set of binding legislation which aims to ensure the European Union has 20% reduction in greenhouse gasses and 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. North America was the second largest market for APCM with key applications being in HVAC and energy storage. Asia-Pacific is expected to witness modest growth over the forecast period at an estimated CAGR of 20.4% from 2014 to 2020.
The global APCM market was fragmented with key manufacturers providing only one form of PCM. BASF and DuPont provide paraffin based PCM for use in building application. The other key participants in the market include Honeywell, Advansa, Outlast Technologies and Dow Building Solutions.
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