Global Rigid Polyurethane Foam Market - 2021-2028
The rigid polyurethane foam market size was worth US$ YY million in 2020 and is estimated to reach US$ YY million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of YY % during the forecast period (2021-2028).
Rigid polyurethane foam is a generally used engineering material. Its excellent thermal insulation performance, low-density and great mechanical properties can serve as a thermal insulation material, potting material, load-bearing structure material, etc. The rigid polyurethane has been utilized in many aspects such as constructions, consumer goods, healthcare, automotive, sports & recreation, furniture & bedding and others.
At present, resource efficiency and thermal insulation are some of the most important issues. Growing environmental awareness and steadily increasing energy prices have increased the demand for materials with strong insulation properties. Good insulation can assist in reducing heating costs in new buildings and improve energy efficiencies in older buildings.
Insulation serves to decrease unnecessary energy losses and maintain power costs for household and commercial refrigerators and freezers. Insulation materials found in polyurethane foam considerably decrease heat loss through building roofs and walls and make a vital contribution to the excellent properties of rigid polyurethane foam employed in the insulation of refrigerators.
The rising demand for eco-friendly materials drives the global rigid polyurethane foam market growth.
Rising demand for eco-friendly materials
Conventionally, polyurethane foams are produced from petroleum-derived materials, but they are difficult to recycle in general, bringing many environmental concerns. In recent years, growing petroleum prices and sustainability issues have prompted manufacturers to focus on biomass-derived materials.
Many kinds of renewable sources have been introduced into polyurethane foams to minimize the use of fossil resources. For example, bio-based polyols were used to synthesize polyurethane foams to lessen the use of petroleum-derived polyols. The growing demand for eco-friendly materials for PU foams is expected to boost the rigid polyurethane foam market.
Various recent developments have been witnessed in recent years regarding the manufacturing of PU foams. For example, in 2020, Scientists at UC San Diego and Algenesis have collaborated to generate a sustainable solution to the developing problem of plastic pollution. The recent study highlighted the team's success in producing a commercially deployable, biodegradable polyurethane product.
Moreover, in 2019, Huntsman has highlighted its variety of innovative polyurethane-based foam solutions focusing specifically on mobility and construction applications in the Foam Expo Europe. For the mobility industry, the company offers various bio-based foam technologies. These bio-based technologies can help automotive manufacturers deliver a 9% level of bio-based content - according to ASTM-D6866-12. Recently, Huntsman launched ACOUSTIFLEX S NBR polyurethane foam system designed for acoustic engine and trunk compartment applications.
Utilization of harmful substances for manufacturing foam
The utilization of harmful substances impacts the rigid polyurethane foam market. In 2010, CFC-11 production was banned globally as part of the Montreal Protocol due to its harmful impacts on the environment. Various manufacturers have still been using CFC-11 for manufacturing rigid PU foams, which renowned government organizations objectify.
The Information received by the Environmental Investigation Agency(EIA) confirms conclusively that the utilization of CFC-11 in China's rigid polyurethane foam insulation sector, particularly in the building & construction sector, is widespread and pervasive. CFC-11 is used as a foam blowing agent to produce spray foam and molded foam panels used for insulation purposes.
EIA also has evidence from eighteen companies in ten provinces that are using CFC-11. Detailed discussions with company executives revealed that these are not isolated incidents but describe standard practice across the industry. In addition, there is strong potential for illegal international trade in CFC-11 comprising pre-formulated polyols for foam manufacturing in other countries.
Covid-19 Impact Analysis
Due to the pandemic, the rigid polyurethane industry has declined due to less demand from its industries. The majority of the demand for rigid polyurethane was incorporated from numerous industries, including construction, electrical & electronics, aerospace, automotive and others. Hence, the outbreak has adversely impacted the demand from construction, aerospace and sports industries. For instance, during the pandemic, UK construction industry has faced a loss of around US$ 413.51 million (£301.5 million) per day.
On the contrary, rigid polyurethane foam has seen a positive demand from the healthcare industry due to the high demand for various types of equipment. Moreover, the market has been stable in other industries, including consumer electronics, automotive and furniture & bedding.
By end-user, the rigid polyurethane foam market is segmented into electrical and electronics, construction, consumer goods, healthcare, automotive, sports & recreation, furniture & bedding and others.
Growing demand for thermal and moisture insulation is increasing rigid PU foam sales
The construction sector is expected to hold the largest rigid polyurethane foam market in the forecast period. Construction elements with a rigid polyurethane foam core are perfect for producing facade or roof elements of industrial buildings. Rigid polyurethane foam has a closed-cell structure and extraordinary crosslinking density with superior insulation properties, making it a popular material for use in the building & construction sector. The demand for rigid PU foam has increased by stringent safety and energy efficiency regulations and demand to reduce noise levels in buildings by insulating sounds.
Various leading companies have been developing efficient rigid PU foams for the goring construction sector, which is expected to drive market growth. For example, since 2016, Covestro has been working with research and development partners as part of the ""DreamResource"" joint project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to develop environmentally friendly polyols for polyurethane foam in insulation for the construction sector. An initial prototype has been developed, containing the novel polyols based on conventional ethylene oxides and CO₂.
Asia-Pacific holds the largest market globally due to significant investments from the global companies
Asia-Pacific holds the largest market share for rigid polyurethane foam market globally and is expected to continue its dominance in the forecast period. The growing use of rigid polyurethane foams has been witnessed in numerous industries, raising the demand in India, China and Japan. Underlying are global trends, such as the growth of cities, climate change and the growing middle class, particularly in emerging economies where affordable and energy-efficient housing is required. These scenarios will drive the demand for efficient insulating materials like rigid polyurethane foam.
Various leading countries have been investing and expanding their PU foam business in the region amidst lucrative opportunities. For instance, in 2017, Dow Chemical has announced to expand its polyurethane business in India. The company has planned to expand its polyurethane system production facility situated in Maharashtra by 50%. The company plays an important role in PU growth and has a strong presence in India regarding local manufacturing capability and application development to support market needs. Also, the developing knowledge of green construction and the growth of bio-based polyols are projected to give substantial prospects for the rigid polyurethane foams market.
The rigid polyurethane foam market is highly competitive with the availability of the local players on a small and high scale in the countries. However, the global companies dominate the major share in the market growth due to their high sales revenues. In addition, some of the key players contributing to the market's growth are Huntsman International LLC, General Plastics Manufacturing Company, BASF SE, Sealed Air Corporation, Borealis AG, Covestro AG, JSP Corporation, Armacell International S.A, Zotefoams Plc, Woodbridge Foam Corporation and others. The players are adopting various new strategies to dominate the market, such as acquisitions, partnerships and collaborations, contributing to the growth of the rigid polyurethane foam market globally.
Huntsman International LLC
Overview: Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded manufacturer and marketer of specialty and differentiated chemicals with 2020 revenues of approximately US$ 6 billion. The company operates in over 70 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in 30 countries and employs 9,000 associates within its four distinct business divisions.
Product Portfolio: The company manufactures PU foams for discontinuous panels, water heaters, refrigerated transport, cool boxes, reefers, commercial display units.
Key Development: In 2021, Huntsman Corporation announced plans to build a new polyurethanes systems house in Dubai. The new facility will strengthen the company's downstream capabilities in the Middle East. The new systems house will empower the company to supply high-end, rigid polyurethane formulations locally.
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