Foam blowing agents are essential ingredients that are added to substrates to impart the characteristic cellular matrix structure of foam to the material. The advantages of foaming of a polymeric material include less material usage, thermal and acoustic insulation, and reduction of weight of the final product. Major foam blowing agents include hydrocarbons such as n-pentane, cyclopentane, isopentane, n-butane and isobutene; Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) including HFC-134fa, HFC-32, HFC-365mfc, HFC-227ea; Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) such as HCFC-22, HCFC-141a and HCFC-141b; azodicarbonamide, hydrazine, CO2, water and inert gases. Major applications of these foam blowing agents include polyurethane (PU) foams, polystyrene (PS) foams, polyolefin foams and others including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foams, and phenolic, foams etc.
The global foam blowing agents market is anticipated to be driven by rising demand from the end-user applications of foams in the construction industry. Increasing demand for foam blowing agents for the manufacture of PU foams is expected to further fuel the market for foam blowing agents. However, volatility in prices of feedstock for petroleum-based foam blowing agents, and regulations against chemicals that harm the environment are likely to hamper market growth in the next few years. Development of new eco-friendly foam blowing agents such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFO) is anticipated to provide market growth opportunities in the near future.
The foam blowing agents market can be segregated based on the type of products into hydrocarbons (HC), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and others (including azodicarbonamide, hydrazine, CO2, water, etc.). Hydrocarbon (HC) foam blowing agents is expected to be the largest as well as the fastest growing segment during the forecast period. HFCs emerged as another key segment in 2013, due to high demand as a substitute to HCFCs in developed countries across the world. HCFCs are being phased-out due to their ozone depleting and global warming potential. These are being substituted mostly by hydrocarbons in developing countries and HFCs in developed nations.
PU foams led the application market and accounted for more than 50% share of the global market in 2013. PU applications are projected to expand at the fastest pace from 2014 to 2020, owing to high demand from insulation applications in the construction industry. PS foams are another rapidly growing application, with major demand from the automotive and construction industries. Other applications include polyolefin foams, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foams and phenolic foams.
Asia Pacific continued its dominance in the foam blowing agents market, accounting for more than half of the global market share in terms of volume in 2013. Apart from being the largest market, Asia Pacific is also estimated to be the fastest growing market for foam blowing agents in the next few years. Major demand is anticipated to originate from PU foam applications in the automotive and construction industries in the region. Furthermore, consumer goods such as footwear and furniture also contribute to the demand for foam blowing agents in Asia Pacific. The mature market of Europe is anticipated to witness an average growth rate in the next six years. In terms of volume, Asia Pacific was followed by North America and accounted for 24% of the global foam blowing agents market in 2013.
The global foam blowing agents market is consolidated and dominated by a few players with global operations. Key players include Exxon Mobil Corporation, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Solvay S.A., Arkema S.A., Honeywell International Inc. Daikin Industries Ltd., Haltermann GmBH, ZEON Corporation, AkzoNobel N.V. and Sinochem Group.
Foam blowing agents are additives used in the manufacture of foam that impart the characteristic foam-like structure. These agents are introduced in the substrate when they are in a liquid state through a high pressure injection. Foam blowing agents then expand in the substrate to provide a cellular matrix-like structure to the material. This matrix-like structure provides structural strength to the foam while utilizing less material. Foam blowing agents are used to manufacture a variety of polymeric and plastic foams such as polyurethane (PU) foams, polystyrene (PS) foams, polyolefins including polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) foams, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foams and phenolic foams. Advantages of using foams include lower material usage, similar structural strength with higher flexibility, lighter final product, and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation.
This report provides a detailed description of the global foam blowing agents market based on volume share (Kilo Tons) and revenue (US$ Mn) for the period of 2014 to 2020. It highlights the factors contributing to the growth of the market and the restraints that impede the market. Detailed forecast for foam blowing agents from 2014 to 2020 has been given separately for better understanding of the market scenario. The foam blowing agents market is described with respect to various segments along with the expected opportunities in the next six years.
In terms of geography, the global foam blowing agents market has been segmented into regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World. The foam blowing agents market has been segmented based on the following product types: hydrocarbons (HC), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and others (including azodicarbonamide, hydrazine, CO2, water, etc.). The study also analyzes market attractiveness for all product segments of foam blowing agents with the help of the market attractiveness tool.
The study segments the market based on applications into PU foams, PS foams, polyolefin foams and others (including PVC foams, phenolic foams, etc.). It provides forecasts and estimates for each application segment in terms of revenue and volume during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020.
Rising demand for foams in key end-user industries such as automotive and construction is projected to boost the global market for foam blowing agents as they are essentially utilized in the manufacture of foams. PU foams application is anticipated to be the major driver of the foam blowing agents market due to rapid increase in the demand for these foams for insulation and structural applications. However, volatility in prices of feedstock for petroleum-based foam blowing agents and regulations against foam blowing agents harmful to the environment are likely to hamper market growth. Companies, especially in the developed regions such as North America and Europe, are committing a substantial part of their investments for sustainable growth that ensures safety of the environment. Industry players are making significant investments for developing eco-friendly foam blowing agents. This is projected to offer prospective growth opportunities for the market players in the near future.
Value chain analysis and Porter’s five forces model have been provided for a comprehensive view of the market. These would also help understand the specifics of the industry structure besides giving an overview of the degree of competitiveness. The report also includes detailed profiles of key players such as Exxon Mobil Corporation, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Arkema S.A., Solvay S.A., Honeywell International Inc and Daikin Industries Ltd. Detailed description of players includes parameters such as company overview, financial overview, business strategies, upcoming facilities, capacity addition, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, new products and recent developments.
The report segments the global foam blowing agents market as:
Foam Blowing Agents Market & Product Segment Analysis
- Hydrocarbons (HC)
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)
- Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)
- Others (including azodicarbonamide, hydrazine, CO2, water, etc.)
Foam Blowing Agents Market & Application Analysis
- Polyurethane (PU) foams
- Polystyrene (PS) foams
- Polyolefin foams
- Others (including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foams, phenolic foams, etc.)
Foam Blowing Agents Market - Regional Analysis
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of the World