Global thermosets market size is expected to exceed 105 million tons by 2016. Key thermoset materials analyzed in this report include unsaturated polyesters resins (UPR), phenol formaldehyde (PF), polyurethanes (PU) and epoxy/polyepoxide resins. UP and PF accounted for over 30% of the total demand in 2012
Polyurethanes market is anticipated to account for over 25% of the total demand by 2016 supported by the demand from major end-use industries such as construction, furniture, electronic and automotive.
Asia Pacific thermosets market was the dominant region and is anticipated to witness highest growth with an estimated CAGR of over 11% up to 2016. North America, especially the U.S. thermosets market is likely to witness significant gains, at over 10%.
Increase in construction spending coupled with automobile production particularly in Asia Pacific is likely to support opportunities for various applications such as paints & coatings, insulation and vehicle components manufacturing. This factor is likely to drive demand for thermosets such as, UPR, PU and epoxy resins, alkyd resins.
Global PU market size was over 16 million tons in 2015and is likely to witness a CAGR of over 5% up to 2023. This market is likely to grow owing to its significant use in construction in the form of thermal insulators, flooring materials and sealants. PU rigid foam market is gaining considerable importance in industries owing to its excellent insulation properties.
PU is also used in automobiles for manufacturing seating and interior components such as armrest, headrest, headliners and dashboard. Trend towards adopting lightweight and high performance material in vehicle manufacturing to improve fuel efficiency is likely to drive its demand.
Increasing application scope of fiber reinforcement plastic (FRP) in construction industry is likely to drive UPR market demand. Global UPR market size was estimated at 4.6 million tons in 2015 and likely to witness CAGR of over 6% up to 2023. They are also used for manufacturing tanks & pipes in chemical industry owing to its properties such as hydraulic stability and superior heat resistance.
Thermosets such as epoxy and alkyd resins are widely used in paints & coating applications in major end-use industries such as construction and automobiles. Global epoxy resins market size was estimated at 2.49 million tons in 2014 and is likely to grow at a CAGR of over 6.5% up to 2023. Epoxy based paints & coatings dries quickly and provides protection, excellent hardness and tough coating. Alkyd resins are use for this application as they are compatible with numerous polymers to manufacture coatings, binders, lacquers, varnishes and paints, both transparent and semi-transparent.
Fluctuating prices of epichlorohydrin & bisphenol-A and MDI &TDI to manufacture thermosets such as epoxy resins & PU coupled with growing environmental concerns owing to increasing carbon footprints is likely to challenge market growth. To counter this, companies are investing in developing bio-based technologies to manufacture sustainable thermoset products.
Various renewable based raw materials such as natural oil (rapeseed oil, soybean oil, palm oil), glycerols, proteins, saccharides (glucose, fructose) and polyphenols (lignin, tannin) are used as feedstock for bio thermoset resin market. These raw materials are abundant in nature and are expected to maintain a steady market price with an increase in their demand and counter depleting of fossil fuel reserves. This factor is likely to drive bio thermosets market growth.
Bio-based epoxy is obtained from epichlorohydrin obtained from glycerol from renewable feedstock using GTE (glycerin-to-epichlorohydrin) process. Glycerol is also used for UPR production using 1,3-prpanediol (PDO). Several entities are working to develop and/or commercialize glycerin-to-propylene glycol technology. These entities include Cargil/Ashland, ADM, PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Virent Technologies, Dow Chemical and Huntsman. Ashland Performance Materials are the first to develop bio based UPR under the brand name Envirez derived from soybean oil triglycerides. Different grades of Envirez contain bio content ranging from 8-22%.
Bio based PU usually refers products derived from renewable source polyols. The bio content of polyols ranges between 30-100% as result the overall content in bio PU varies by 8-70%. Bio based polyols are majorly synthesized from vegetable oils. They are also obtained from lignocellulosic materials such as wood & forestry/agricultural waters, natural polyphenols and carbohydrates.
Asia Pacific was the leading region for consuming thermosets based on its demand from various end-use industries such as construction, automobiles and chemicals. China and India are likely to witness significant gains over the forecast period owing to the growth of automobile industry coupled with increasing disposable income. Japan is expected to be a fairly mature market with expected growth being moderate. North America is likely to witness significant gains owing to favorable automobile norms to cut down vehicle weight by 45-50% by 2020.
Global thermosets market share is fragmented with presence of MNCs and domestic manufacturers across the value chain. Key companies include 3M, DuPont, BASF, Huntsman, Ashland and Dow Chemicals. Other prominent companies include Lanxess, DSM, AOC Resins, Performance Material Holding and Sika AG.
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