Advanced phase change material (PCM) are those that can release or store energy when they change state from solid to gas or solid to liquid and the other way round. Depending on the material used as well as the requirement, advanced phase change materials can, during the conversion process, be immensely energy efficient, thereby rendering them a rather significant role in the near future.
Broadly categorizing advanced phase change material market on the basis of technology, the main segments are: Organic PCMs (paraffin and non-paraffin), inorganic PCMs, bio-based PCMs, and others. Owing to their properties supporting energy conservation, advanced phase change materials find applications in areas such as textiles, building and construction, energy storage, protective clothing, shipping and transportation, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and heating.
Viewing their contribution in different sectors, the advanced phase change materials market has witnessed a remarkable growth over the past few years. A research report published by a market intelligence firm states that the value of the global market for advanced phase change materials was approximately US$350 million in 2011 and the market is estimated to register a double-digit growth rate during the forecast period of 2010-2020.
Companies operating within the advanced phase change material market have been working on new and improved products in order to provide application-specific solutions and keep up with the rising demand for advanced phase change materials. Some of the significant industry participants are Laird PLC, Datum Phase Change Ltd., Microtek Laboratories Inc., SALCA BV, Rgees LIC, Pluss Polymers Pvt. Ltd., PCM Energy P. Ltd, Rubitherm Technologies GMBH, E. I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company, Outlast Technologies LIC, Entropy Solutions Inc., Micron Technology Inc., SGL Group, Sonoco Products Co., BASF SE, Phase Change Material Products Limited, Climator Sweden AB, Honeywell Electronic Materials Inc., Cryopak Inc., Ciat Group, Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc., Advansa B.V, The Bergquist Company Inc., Emco Klimatechnik Gmbh & Co. KG, and Ewald Dörken AG.
The unique structure of advanced phase change materials presents many advantages, which benefits the global market in numerous ways. Here is a look at the various factors that govern the advanced phase change materials market.
Desperate need to conserve energy main propellant for advanced PCM market
One of the key driving factors for the advanced phase change materials market is the urgent need for energy conservation and energy efficiency across various industries. The inherent properties of advanced phase change materials have offered an array of ways in which energy consumption can be minimized. Analysts say that in another couple of decades, the global demand for energy can be cut by half, thanks to the energy-saving, peak load saving, and temperature security features of advanced phase change materials. Efforts by governments all over the world to curb the emission of greenhouse gases has worked immensely in favor of the advanced phase change materials market. Use of advanced PCMs also help in bringing down operating costs in various industries, consequently giving rise to a stupendous demand for PCMs.
High price to hinder market growth during decade-long forecast period
Compared to other insulating materials, advanced phase change materials are priced higher. This is a major factor that is known to restrict the growth of the advanced PCM market. There is a dearth of awareness among consumers in underdeveloped economies regarding the advantages offered by advanced phase change materials, which not only impacts the demand for PCMs but also increases their overall price. Apart from this, absence of government subsidies, shifting costs, flammability hazards, and issues regarding getting the right temperature grade are some other factors that are expected to hamper the advanced phase change materials over the course of the forecast period.
Even with these challenges, there is much scope for improvement and growth of the advanced PCM market. Bringing down the prices of phase change materials and increasing their efficiency through more research and development activities will help the global market overcome the perils that threaten to slow down the pace of expansion.
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