Blowing agents are commonly used additives in polymeric foam industry as a part of production process to impart particular properties to the polymeric foam. Significance of blowing agents is the rising demand for the polymeric foam businesses essentially on account of producing low-cost, environment friendly foam products.
Increasing demand for polymeric foams, especially polyurethane foams, owing to rapid development in their end-user industries such as construction and appliances is driving the demand for blowing agents. Additionally, high growth of end use industries in Asia Pacific is anticipated to further fuel the demand for blowing agents.
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Major types of blowing agents currently in use in the industry are hydrocarbons (HCs), hydro-fluoro-carbons (HFCs) and hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbons (HCFCs). Hydrocarbons are the dominant product segment amongst which butanes and pentanes are most commonly used as blowing agents. HCFCs have been phased out of developed nations and gradually being phased out of other regions due to their high Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and Global Warming Potential (GWP). This has encouraged the industry players to develop and introduce alternative environment friendly blowing agents into the market.
The major foams types that utilize these blowing agents include polyurethane foam, phenolic foam, polystyrene foam and polyolefin foam. Polyurethane foam industry utilizes all types of blowing agents and captures a major share in the market.
Presently, Asia-Pacific is estimated to be the world’s largest as well as fastest growing market for blowing agents over the next few years. China is the key consumer of blowing agents in Asia-Pacific. Other countries such as South Korea and India also generate considerable demand owing to high production levels.
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Some of the major manufacturers in the blowing agents market include Arkema SA, E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Foam Supplies Inc, Haltermann GmbH, Honeywell International Ltd. and Solvay SA.