Adoption of Cyclopentane in Commercial Refrigerators Shaping the Market Landscape
The adoption of cyclopentane in commercial refrigerators has opened up new opportunities for the cyclopentane market. Cyclopentane is popularly used as a foam blowing agent for polyurethane foams that are used to insulate freezers and refrigerators. The commercial refrigerator sector is experiencing a healthy growth across the globe, with Asia pacific region as the fastest growing region. The importance of commercial refrigerators is also increasing due to fluctuating climatic conditions that has resulted in the wastage of harvested crops due to inadequate storage options. Studies have shown that more than one- fourth of the harvested crops never reach the market due to improper refrigeration facilities. These figures are even higher in developing countries.
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The rising population has generated the necessity to efficiently deliver the food to minimize famine, hunger, and diseases. This has increased the importance of commercial refrigeration systems, and governments across the world are promoting its use to keep food fresh and prolong its shelf life. Cyclopentane is gaining significant traction as a foaming agent in polyurethane foam manufacturing, owing to its superior properties over conventional foaming agents. Besides, cyclopentane also reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the insulation process during the manufacturing of refrigerators. The insulating foam is used in the door panels and cases of refrigerators. Refrigerator manufacturers have reported significant reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions after replacing the conventional foaming agents with cyclopentane. GE appliances, owned by Haier, reported reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 99% in 2011, when it replaced conventional foaming agent with cyclopentane.
The insulated transport containers are also gaining demand due to increased benefits for transportation of perishable items over long distances. Majority of these containers have PU-based insulation in them, which uses cyclopentane as foam blowing agent. The increase in demand for such containers, and that of cyclopentane, can be linked to the fluctuating climatic conditions that have decreased the shelf life of perishable items such as vegetables and fruits. As the demand for fruits and vegetables is different in different region, and not all regions produce equal amounts of harvest, most of the surplus harvest after captive consumption is traded to the neighboring regions using such insulated containers. Also, the growing demand for commercial refrigerators from the hotel chains and café has influenced the growth of the cyclopentane market.
Utilizing Cyclopentane in Insulated Containers & Sippers: an Emerging Trend
Cyclopentane is being widely adopted as blowing agent for insulation materials to be used in insulated containers & sippers. The global consumer goods market is experiencing healthy growth and as a result it is expected to drive the demand for cyclopentane to manufacture insulation materials to be used in insulated containers and sippers. Insulated containers preferably, lunch boxes have huge demand in the consumer market owing to the variety of benefits that insulated boxes provide to consumers. The use of sippers is common among athletic and sports community and insulated sippers is also gaining significant attraction from the community. Leading manufacturers of sippers & lunch boxes are also opting for the PU-based insulation that uses cyclopentane as a foam blowing agent due to the cost effectiveness of cyclopentane over other blowing agents. Large insulated containers such as non- electric cold drink containers have also been gaining significant attraction from consumers. Besides, the demand for large insulated containers that uses cyclopentane as a foam blowing agent is increasing from the pharmaceutical and medical institutions to store vital medicines and samples (blood & other) in order to be tested.
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Production Capacity Expansion & Product Launches- Top Strategies of Key Market Players
The increasing demand for cyclopentane from end-use industries, has led to the production expansion by top players from past few years to meet the needs of the market. The market being driven by refrigerator appliance manufacturers, cyclopentane manufacturers have to meet the growing demands and are expected to add more capacities over the mid-term forecast. Refrigerator manufacturers have started with expansions across the globe to fulfill the requirements of the market.
Cyclopentane is obtained as a refinery product and is very cost efficient as compared to other foam blowing agents. Most of the manufacturers produce cyclopentane as a specialty chemical product that ensures its production as per the requirement.
Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Ltd. manufactures cyclopentane under the brand name of MARUKASOL FH. Its cyclopentane grade offers low heat transfer rates and is preferentially used as urethane foaming agent. Owing to its superior grade, it is also used as metal cleaning agent in the semiconductor industry. The company expanded its production capacity to 8,000 tons/year in 2015 at its Chiba plant.
Zeon Corporation is one of the leading producers of Cyclopentane in Japan. It completed its cyclopentane expansion project in 2013. It offers cyclopentane of >95% purity grade in 130 kg steel drum packing.
Other manufacturers are also opting for new product launches to meet the standard and improved qualities of cyclopentane to be used as foam blowing agent.
Changing Regulatory Landscape Influencing the Global Cyclopentane Market
Greenhouse gas emissions are a matter of concern of all environmental regulatory authorities around the world. Steps to curb the greenhouse gas emissions have been incorporated from time to time to ensure the reduction in ozone layer depletion. Various substances have been phased out and banned with proper management plan prescribed by Montreal Protocol 1987. Montreal Protocol is a protocol to Vienna Convention for the protection of ozone layer that has prescribed measures to phase out substances that cause harm to the ozone layer. This management plan has so far been very successfully implemented by all countries in the world and former Secretary-General of United Nations, Kofi Annan quoted “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol”. Substances that are listed to be phased out include Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Hydrochlorocarbons (HFCs). These chemicals are popularly being used as foam blowing agents and refrigerants in almost every refrigeration systems and appliances. The phase out management plan has facilitated the use of alternatives such as cyclopentane as substitute for the foam blowing agent and more than 80% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions has been reported by manufacturers that have opted for the cyclopentane as a foam blowing agent.
Currently, Most of the countries have initiated the stage 2 of the phase out plan for HCFCs as per the reduction schedule specified in the Protocol. For example, India started the implementation of stage 2 phase out plan for HCFCs in 2017. As per the protocol, India has to reduce the consumption of 8190 MT of HCFC by 2023 to meet the targets under Protocol 2020. For this measure, India has managed to secure US$ 44.1 million from multilateral funds for proper implementation. This is expected to increase the demand for cyclopentane in the regional market to fill the deficit generated by the phase out plan of HCFCs. Under this plan, more than 400 enterprises in foam manufacturing are assured to be supported for conversion to non HCFCs from HCFCs. New standard codes are being framed to support the move. A net reduction of 8.5 million metric tonnes annually in CO2 equivalent emissions is expected to be achieved from 2023.
In Europe, imports of HCFCs and other ozone depleting substances have already been monitored from 2016, and significant reduction in imports have been reported by European Environment Agency (EEA) in 2017 as well. Some of the European countries such as Sweden have already phased out HCFCs and CFCs way back in late 90s. This has increased the consumption for non HCFC foaming agent such as cyclopentane in Europe.
United States Environmental Protection Agency introduced its stage 2 of HCFC phase out plan in 2010 and was successful in reducing the HCFC usage to below 90% of the baseline levels in 2015. HCFCs that are widely used as foam blowing agents include HCFC-141b and HCFC-142b. Their production has been reduced significantly in the United States. The US has targeted zero production and imports of HCFC-142b by the year 2020, and to reduce the consumption of HCFC below base levels by 99.5%. This is expected to increase the demand for cyclopentane in the North America region, from the foam manufacturers over the short-term forecast.
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China being the largest consumer of HCFCs, is expected to phase out HCFCs too. It is being funded by the World Bank to freeze the production & consumption of HCFCs in the near future. Other Asian countries such as Malaysia has already started implementing the phase 2 plan for HCFCs, and is estimated to achieve the results by 2022. As a result, the demand in the Asia region is expected to increase for non- HCFC foaming agents including cyclopentane.
Japan achieved the CFC phase out in 1996 and is determined to phase out HCFC by 2020. Cyclopentane demand in the Japanese market, is thus expected to increase over the short and mid-term forecast.
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