Aerogel is an inimitable open-pore polymer foam, manufactured from either inorganic or organic predecessors. Aerogel is conventionally manufactured by means of sol-gel chemistry, which initiates with liquid state and forming tiny sol particles. These particles are interconnected with each other to form a semi-solid gel. Solid aerogel is formed by displacing solvent from the wet gel through air without breaking down the subtle gel structure. Aerogel has a nano-sized structure that comprises both particles and pores, which are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Aerogel possesses optical, acoustic, thermal and optical properties, due to its nano-structure.
GLOBAL SILICA AEROGEL MARKET SPLIT BASED ON VOLUME BY FORM (2015)
The global silica aerogel market is witnessing significant growth due to superior thermal insulation and lighter alternative, environment-friendly material and a large base of end-use applications. Additionally, silica aerogel is a potential substitute for conventional insulation materials and its use in fabrication of apparel for low temperature weather further boosted the demand for silica aerogel. The enhancement of thermal insulation systems are aimed towards reducing primary energy consumption. Silica aerogel is a potential substitute for conventional insulation materials such as mineral wool, fiberglass, polyurethane foam, polystyrene foam and cellulose. Silica aerogel, with low thermal conductivity (0.015 watts per meter kelvin), they offer extraordinary characteristics compared to conventional thermal insulation materials. Additionally, higher transmittances in the solar spectrum are of greater importance for the construction sector. Furthermore, their visible transparency for insulation applications allows their use in skylights and windows, which offers the architects the prospect of reinventing architectural solutions.
Among the various applications, the oil and gas segment has been globally the largest application area of silica aerogel, both in terms of value and volume. The challenges faced by oil and gas companies in the developing fields in harsh climatic conditions, such as deep/ultra-deep waters, oil sands and arctic environments, continue to increase. Thus, the focus has shifted on choosing an efficient and superior insulation system, which could meet environment landscape and regulations. Silica aerogel products are available in different forms to meet the wide variety of requirements of the oil and gas industry. It can be swiftly and easily installed, resulting in reduced cost for installers and fabricators, and exceptional thermal performance such as low capital cost and longer cool down times. Superior thermal insulation and light weight of silica aerogel makes its apt for application in high end and capital industries such as aerospace, defense and oil and gas industries. Major industry players are working on technological advancement to reduce the manufacturing cost and making it commercial viable for application in textile, daylighting, domestic housing solutions and healthcare industries. During the forecast period, the demand for silica aerogel is expected to witness the fastest growth in building insulation applications, witnessing a CAGR of 33.7%. Silica aerogel helps commercial and residential manufacturers to meet the increasing demand for energy-efficient building solutions.
The global silica aerogel market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.1% during the forecast period. North America accounted for the major share in the global silica aerogel market, emerging as the largest market. The U.S. is the major consumer of silica aerogel and it is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period. As per the findings, extensive R&D work on silica aerogel by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is propelling this growth. NASA used silica aerogel for its MARS rovers mission, due to its light weight and superior thermal insulation solution. Additionally, NASA is working to reduce the manufacturing cost of silica aerogel and make it viable for commercial purposes.
The key companies operating in the global silica aerogel market include BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Cabot Corporation, Aspen Aerogels, Inc., Aerogel Technologies, LLC, JIOS Aerogel Corporation, Svenska Aerogel Holding AB, MAERO TECH SDN BHD, and Ocellus Inc.