Sustainability & energy conservation remains key driving trend for Polyurethanes

Posted On Feb, 03, 2017

Polyurethane (PU) manufacturers in recent years have been compelled to strive for higher sustainability via environment-friendly practices, products as well as technologies. Additionally, systems such as the Polyurethane Innovation Award in 2016 have only served to reinforce this trend by promoting companies that comply with sustainability criterion.

In a world marked by transitions towards ‘greener’ and eco-friendly products and trends, polyurethane manufacturers are also adapting their processes and technologies to introduce novel, & valuable products in the industry. Green buildings are increasingly entering the mainstream construction market with growing investments in smart ‘energy-saving’ residential and commercial buildings. These buildings not only offer lucrative opportunities to PU manufacturers, but also simplify compliance with environmental & federal regulations.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating & cooling accounts for over 56% of overall energy costs in an average American household. Rigid PU foam insulation can thus conserve resources & reduce costs by lowering the amount of energy consumed. Expanding construction industry in emerging economies is also driving PU consumption in building applications.

Recent developments in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) have compelled automobile producers to seek new avenues to reduce fuel consumption. Light weight is a crucial factor in meeting these & other emission regulations, due to the inherent correlation between mass & fuel consumption. These factors are expected to drive PU consumption in automotive applications, while also providing a buffer for fragile in-car electronic systems.

Government initiatives & schemes such as the Thailand Investment Promotion Act and the ‘Make in India’ program are encouraging domestic production and boosting investments in these sectors, which is conducive to PU demand. Such factors have contributed to immense growth in the Asia Pacific PU market in recent years.

Furthermore, plastic compounders in the region are attempting to streamline & improve their production technologies and capabilities in a bid to boost output levels. The dwindling reserves of non-renewable resources across the globe has led to an upsurge in technologies utilizing lower energy & materials to produce higher amounts of plastics.

Polyurethane Industry Overview

Polyurethane (PU) Market

The packaging sector presents tremendous growth potential owing to the rise in demand for smart-packaging, individualized consumer boxes and technological advancements that have introduced new & niche applications for polyurethanes. The recent introduction of novel packages that have built-in PU protectors ensure safe transportation of smart electronic devices with ample cushioning and stability.

Companies such as BASF and SKF have introduced novel PU products to meet specific application requirements. BASF has developed flexible thermal insulation panels, sandwich plate systems, coastal bonding & protection systems among other innovative products using PU for several industrial as well as consumer applications. These factors are expected to contribute to industry growth over the long run and drive investments in several emerging economies with vast growth potential.

  In-depth report on global polyurethane (PU) market by Grand View Research:

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