The 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 the 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 silica gel 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 silica gel 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 the 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 the domestic level. This program allows 100% foreign direct investment in the chemical sector which is expected to open new market avenues for the manufacturers over the forecast period.
Increasing use of silica gel in the 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 the 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 silica gel 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 the petrochemical industry for the production of polyolefin, chemical separation, filtration, and plastics production. Expansion of oil fields in the 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 that have the ability of absorbing oxygen or moist air.
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The mining industry accounts for a vital share of the global economy and is responsible for supplying key raw materials for several applications and end-use industries, thus being a key sector of focus amidst the ongoing pandemic outbreak. Mining industries in China are expected to return to normal operations by Q3 of 2020 as enterprises indicated towards the returning of their workers soon. Moreover, Iron ore producers are known to be the least impacted. Major players such as BHP and Vale reported experiencing no major influence on their operations due to the COVID-19 virus. The iron ore prices reached above USD 90 per ton amidst the pandemic situation which may negatively impact the end-use industries. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.