Flame-retardant consumption on the rise

Tuesday, 04 March, 2014

Flame retardants can save lives by preventing or at least slowing down the combustion of plastics, construction materials and textiles. A report by market research institute Ceresana finds that more than 2 million tonnes of flame retardants were consumed in 2013.

Ceresana forecasts market value of the important additives to amount to approximately US$7.15 billion in 2021. The increasing demand for plastics on the part of the construction, automotive and electronics industries in particular is causing consumption of flame retardants to rise.

It is mainly the construction sector that consumes flame retardants: flammable materials are used in thermal insulation and to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings. Pipes and cables made from plastics increasingly replace conventional pipes made from metal; as a result, fire protection has to be improved as well.

Demand in the segment electrics and electronics is increasing as manufacturers of smartphones and tablet computers are consuming more flame-retardant plastics. They are also concerned with environmental and health safety of the flame retardants used.

Environmentalists regard halogenated flame retardants as problematic and are campaigning for an abandonment of brominated and chlorinated products. Halogenated flame retardants are thus losing market shares to products that are more environmentally friendly, with demand for flame retardants based on phosphor rising much more dynamically than was expected a few years ago.

“Sales volume of organophosphorous products increases at an AAGR of 5%, which is the by far highest growth rate,” said Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana. “The second largest growth market is antimony oxide. Aluminium trihydroxide, or, in short, ATH, remains the most important type of flame retardant nevertheless.”

China is single-handedly consuming almost one quarter of total flame-retardant production. North America is the second largest consumer, followed by Western Europe, even though the American construction industry in particular suffered losses in the past years. Driven by China and India, Asia-Pacific is likely to gain market shares. The Middle East and South America are dynamic growth markets though absolute figures are still comparatively low.

The report includes the following:

  • A summary of the most important facts about various types of flame retardants.
  • An overview and analysis of the global market for flame retardants, including forecasts up to 2021.
  • An analysis of demand for and revenues generated with flame retardants in 16 countries.
  • Applications of flame retardants.
  • A directory of the worldwide largest manufacturers of flame retardants, including extensive profiles of the 101 largest manufacturers.

The report can be accessed here.

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