Global silica gel market is expected to witness growth in light of its increasing application in food & beverage, pharmaceutical, paints & coatings, plastics and inks & printing industries. It is capable of adsorbing water vapor and is chemically inert & non-toxic which paves its way for use in aforementioned applications. Increasing consumer preference for bio-based products on account of growing environmental concerns is expected to hamper the market.
Silica gel is a porous and granular form of silicon dioxide which is manufactured through sodium silicate. Commercially the product is manufactured and distributed in three forms which include type A, B and C. Increasing use of type A & B forms as catalyst carriers, adsorbents, cat litter, separators and perfume carriers on account of exhibiting moisture proof and dry properties is expected to drive the industry.
The U.S. FDA approved the use of the product as a food additive under 21 CFR 172.480 upto 2%. As a food additive, the compound has can be used as an anti caking agent, stabilizer, defoaming agent, emulsifier and anti settling agent.
Silica gel exhibits superior adsorption and high surface area properties which paves its way for use in water filtration. The global water filtration market was valued over USD 17 million in 2012. Transition towards physical treatment of water from conventional water-treatment methods is expected to have a positive impact. Growing environmental concerns coupled with the need to comply with stringent government regulations concerning waste-water treatment are some of the key factors which are likely to drive the industry.
Asia Pacific silica gel market is expected to be lucrative over the forecast period on account of positive chemical industry outlook in India and China amidst regulatory inclination for increasing the output at domestic level. In September 2014, the government of India launched Make in India program aimed at fostering innovation, facilitating investments and enhance skill development in chemical, construction, electrical & electronics and pharmaceuticals at domestic level. This program allows 100% foreign direct investment in chemical sector which is expected to open new market avenues for the manufacturers over the forecast period.
Increasing use of silica gel in pharmaceutical industry for packaging to protect medicines from moist environment and thus getting decomposed or dissolved is expected to be a crucial success factor. Robust pharmaceutical manufacturing base in North America in light of supportive government regulations and expenditure on healthcare industry will have a positive impact.
Rising use of silica gel in personal care products as a scrub additive and in cosmetics on account of exhibiting free flow and smooth texturing properties is expected to drive the market. Europe is likely to be fastest growing industry owing to the presence of numerous cosmetic manufacturers in the region.
Silica gel acts as a catalyst support in petrochemical industry for the production of polyolefin, chemical separation, filtration and plastics production. Expansion of oil fields in Middle East in light of supportive government regulations for increasing the production of crude oil is expected to increase demand for the product. Application growth of personal care and pharmaceuticals in Saudi Arabia in light of rising domestic consumption along with regulatory support to facilitate investments have forced manufacturers to establish manufacturing facilities in the country. The government of Saudi Arabia is inclined towards reducing reliance on upstream oil & gas sector through offering favorable benefits to foreign investors in the state. Chemical manufacturers such as SABIC and Saudi Aramco have announced to establish petrochemical facilities in the near future which are expected to amplify the penetration for the product.
Key players include Evonik Industries, Clariant, Solvay, Merck Group, China National Bluestar, Fuji Silysia Chemical, Nissan Chemical Industries, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Qingdao Haiyang Chemical and Millennium Chemicals. For instance, in April 2014, Sorbead India launched silica gel based desiccant packages which have the ability of absorbing oxygen or moist air.
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