Life-Saving Fire Protection: Ceresana Analyses the Flame Retardant Market
Cell phones, carpets, or insulating sheets – flame retardants are used in numerous everyday products to prevent them from being burnt or at least to slow down a fire in an emergency. As more and more plastics and other flammable materials are used, flame retardants are gaining increasing importance. The new market study by Ceresana Research forecasts that global flame retardant revenues will rise to approximately US$5.8 billion by 2018. Demand is above all growing in the Asia-Pacific region, with China registering the greatest increase of 7% per year. The development of the flame retardant industry is greatly influenced by legal situations and industrial standards," explains Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana: "Almost all countries are increasingly tightening fire safety regulations. In addition, which flame retardant is used depends on state regulations on the protection of the environment and health – above all in Western Europe and North America." As environmental restrictions mainly impact halogenated flame retardants, less controversial alternatives are being developed. The demand for organophosphates and different inorganic flame retardants is rising by 3.5% to 4.3% per year, which is significantly faster than for brominated or chlorinated flame retardants. Fire resistant agents are tailored to specific applications and developed in close co-operation with manufacturers, processors, and users of end-products. Product innovations focus on more environmentally friendly products and new materials. Examples include nanotechnology, micro-encapsulation, and intumescent systems, which expand by heat and create a protective layer. However, the most widely used flame retardant is aluminum hydroxide (ATH), which is anticipated to continue to dominate the market in 2018.