Global increase in demand for polymeric foams coupled with growth of end-user industries such as infrastructure and appliances is expected remain a key driving factor for blowing agents market over the next six years. Blowing agents are primarily used as adhesives for polymer industry to employ specific foam properties such as weight reduction, acoustics and shock absorbency, heat & electric insulation, permeability and elasticity Major polymer foam types utilizing blowing agents include polyurethane (PU) foam, polystyrene foam, polyolefin foam and phenolic foam. PU dominates polymer foam market for blowing agents demand owing to wide range of applications in infrastructure, automobiles and chemicals.
Hydrocarbons (HCs) such as butanes and pentanes have dominated blowing agents market over the past few years and account for over 50% of demand. Low global warming potential (GMP) and low operating costs associated with HCs makes them preferable choice for blowing agents in end-user industries. Increasing government regulations owing to ozone potential depletion (ODP) and GWP is expected to hamper blowing agents market growth. Frequent changes in Kyoto and Montreal protocol is affecting blowing agents choice to be used in the end-user industry. Conventional blowing agents such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) were phased out particularly in developed regions owing to their high ODP and GWP caused when used in polymer foams. Increasing investments in research for developing environmentally friendly blowing agents is expected to provide key opportunities for industry participants. Many companies are engaged in R&D to develop low GWD blowing agents. For instance, Honeywell International Limited has introduced hydrofluroolifiens (HFOs) causing low GWP when used for PU foam applications. Another company, Arkema S.A. has patented use of Forane which is low GWP blowing agents for PU foams. Arkema S.A. claims that Forane provides enhance energy performance coupled with environmental benefits over traditional blowing agents. Low GWP blowing agents such as Methylal and methyl formate are expected to witness high growth rates over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific dominates the blowing agents market, and is expected to continue the same trend over the forecast period. China dominated Asia Pacific region for blowing agents consumption while other countries in this region such as India and South Korea witnessed comparatively low consumption levels in the past few years. India is expected to witness higher growth rates owing the growing demand for performance products from the consumer segments and growth of end-user industries. Key regions such as North America and Europe are expected to witness moderate growth rates owing stringent government regulations regarding GWP and ODP coupled with use of sustainable products derived from renewable materials. The global blowing agents industry is highly competitive with major industry participants such as DuPont, Honeywell International Limited and Arkema S.A. Other major players include Foam Supplies, Inc, Solvay S.A., AkzoNobel NV, Eiwa Chemical, KibbeChem, Inc., Americhem and Rit – Chem Co, Inc
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