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Aerogels -- Focus on Thermal and Acoustic Insulation

  • January 2013
  • 132 pages
  • BCC Research
Report ID: 1105924

Summary

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

BCC has tracked the aerogel market since 2004, reporting on all the latest developments. During this period the market has expanded by over a factor of five, as new market opportunities are created for these products. With this study BCC Research continues its commitment to monitoring the aerogel market, by providing an updated review of the most important advances in aerogel technology and fabrication processes, and supplying a detailed overview of the current market, including an objective analysis of prospects for future growth.

Specifically, the major objectives of this study are to:
• Provide an updated review of aerogels, including a description of their types and fabrication technologies.
• Highlight new technological developments in aerogel manufacturing, while outlining current technical issues.
• Review existing fields of application for aerogels and investigate emerging applications.
• Estimate current global markets for aerogels based on shape, material, application, and region, with growth forecasts through 2017 for each market segment.
• Identify important technology and market trends within each market segment.
• Offer an updated review of current producers of aerogels.
• Determine trends in U.S. patents issued during the 2010-2012 period.

REASONS FOR DOING THIS STUDY

Aerogels are characterized as ultra-light materials due to their nanoporous structure. The global market for microporous and nanoporous materials, including aerogels, is projected to be worth more than $5 billion in 2012 with continued steady growth. Aerogels are currently estimated to represent a 3% share of this market; a share that is expected to grow in the future as the use of aerogels continues to expand at a much faster rate than other materials.

Aerogels can be produced in various shapes (powders, microspheres, granules, beads, monoliths, sheets, blankets, rolls, and coatings) to satisfy the requirements of particular industrial sectors, such as thermal and acoustic insulation, electronics, chemical and environmental, medical, biological, pharmaceutical, and personal care, among others.

At the time of BCC’s last report (early 2009), the global market for aerogels was valued at $83 million for all of 2008 and growing at a rapid rate. However, due to an unusually severe global economic slowdown between late 2007 and the end of 2009, the aerogel market contracted in 2009, as many sectors in which these products are used suffered significant drops in business activity (for example, commercial and residential construction).

The principal reason for doing this study is to present a current assessment of the aerogel industry, focusing on markets and technologies, and to outline future trends and key developments.

There is also a need to evaluate the current status and future trends of the aerogel industry from a global standpoint. As use of aerogel-based products expands and new fields of application emerge, information on regional production, sales, and types of suppliers becomes more valuable.

An equally important reason for undertaking this study is to provide technical insights into aerogel manufacturing by:
• Providing a review of aerogel types, their applications, and fabrication technologies.
• Identifying current technical issues and trends.
• Providing an overview of the main global R&D activities related to aerogels, resulting in the issuance of patents.
• Illustrating the latest technological developments.

This information can assist companies in identifying opportunities for process and productivity improvements, resulting in a positive impact on future market growth.

INTENDED AUDIENCE

This study will be of primary interest to all companies that:
• Manufacture, sell, and distribute aerogels or aerogel-based products.
• Produce raw materials for aerogel fabrication.
• Manufacture process equipment utilized by aerogel producers.
• Fabricate and supply products for thermal insulation, energy management, and architectural projects.
• Provide technical and/or marketing services in thermal and acoustic insulation, energy management, and architecture.
• Provide exterior and interior design applications for the automobile industry.
• Provide products to the life science and cosmetic industries.
• Are planning to enter the aerogel industry as manufacturers of aerogels or as manufacturers of chemicals and/or fabrication equipment used in aerogel production.

Overall, this study applies to product segments such as thermal and acoustic insulation, cosmetics, consumer electronics, sensors and instrumentation, and more broadly, industry sectors such as mechanical, chemical, environmental, energy, medical, pharmaceutical, and biological.

The study is mainly directed toward executives, directors, operations managers, sales and marketing managers, and strategic planners working within the above industries. Universities and research facilities may also find this study to be a good source of technical information regarding aerogel technology, materials, and applications, which can be used as a baseline for new or expanded R&D activities. Librarians of technical information and research centers can also use this report to provide critical data to product managers, market analysts, researchers, and other professionals needing detailed and updated insights on the aerogel industry.

SCOPE OF REPORT

This study provides an updated review of aerogel technology, including materials and fabrication processes, and identifies current and emerging applications for each type of aerogel.

BCC Research determines the current market status of aerogels, defines trends, and presents growth forecasts for the next 5 years. The aerogel industry is also analyzed on a worldwide basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption. In addition, technological issues, including key events and the latest process developments, are discussed.

More specifically, BCC’s market analysis is divided into eight sections.
In the first section, a historical review of aerogel technology is provided, including an outline of recent events. In this section, current and emerging applications of aerogels are also identified and divided by sector (i.e., thermal and acoustic insulation, electronics, chemical and environmental, medical/biological/ pharmaceutical/personal care, sensors and instrumentation, energy, aerospace and space exploration, consumer, defense, and others).

The second section of the study provides a technological review of aerogels. This section offers a revised and detailed description of aerogel materials, properties, shapes and sizes; aerogel applications by material type; and typical fabrication methods and recent process upgrades. This section concludes with an analysis of the most important technological developments and improvements since 2009, including examples of significant patents recently issued or applied for.

The third section of the report entails a global market analysis of aerogels. Global revenues (sales data in millions of dollars) are presented by aerogel shape, material, application, and region, with actual data referring to the years 2010 and 2011, and estimates for 2012.

This section concludes with a presentation of market growth trends based on industry growth, technological trends, unit price trends, and regional trends. Projected aerogel revenues are reported, with forecast compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the period 2012 through 2017.

Next, three optional sections are offered. These sections provide a more focused discussion of the aerogel market for the three main sectors in which aerogels find application (specifically: thermal and acoustic insulation, life sciences and personal care, and energy and others). In these optional sections, additional details by sector on applications, current market breakdown, industry growth, and key trends and developments are provided; in addition to a market summary for the last three years and growth projections for the next five years by application. Included are also market data by aerogel shape, material, and region for each sector evaluated.

In the next section of the study, covering global industry structure, the report offers a complete list of suppliers of aerogels, together with a description of their products. The analysis includes a description of the geographical distribution of these firms and an evaluation of aerogel production versus consumption, always from a geographical standpoint. Detailed company profiles of all industry players are also provided.

The final section includes an extensive U.S. patent analysis, with a summary of patents related to aerogel materials, formulations, fabrication processes, and applications, issued during the period 2010 through 2012. Patent analysis is performed by region, country, assignee, patent category, application, and material type.

METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES

To analyze the overall market and market segments, both primary and secondary research methodologies were used to obtain market data. The technology section of this report is based on information derived from technical literature, related BCC reports, professional journals, the author’s field experience, and online sources.

Global market analysis was performed by analyzing 19 manufacturers and developers of aerogels, accounting for at least 95% of the global market. Data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including: company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing manufacturers, developers, and users of aerogels; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts.

Additional data for each company were obtained by thoroughly analyzing Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, Internet web sites, annual reports, industry directories, industry magazines and catalogs, government sources, and other public sources.

Secondary sources of information include, but are not limited to:
• EDGAR: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
• U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
• European Patent Office.
• Company web sites.
• Company annual reports.
• Thomas Register.
• Moody’s Directory.
• S & P Industry Survey.
• Dun & Bradstreet Business Directory.
• American Ceramic Society Publications.
• American Chemical Society Publications.
• Foreign Chamber of Commerce Directories.
• Foreign Stock Exchange Listings.

In addition to utilizing the above primary and secondary sources, market growth trends and forecasts were formulated by gaining additional insights from relevant financial and market information, relevant BCC reports, and the author’s own in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the collected information.

ANALYST CREDENTIALS

Margareth Gagliardi, BCC’s chief research analyst in advanced materials, has more than 25 years of experience in the field of advanced materials, specializing in ceramic formulations, materials processing, and new product development. She has held management positions in both manufacturing and R&D within U.S. and European firms producing electronic, mechanical, chemical, and structural components. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Ceramic Engineering.

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

This report provides:
• An updated review of various types of aerogels and their fabrication methods, and identifies current and emerging applications for each type; this report focuses on thermal and acoustic insulation.
• Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2010, 2011 and 2012, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2017.
• Discussion of technological issues, including the latest process developments.
• Examination of the industry on a worldwide basis from the standpoints of both manufacturing and consumption, as well as commercial and public research activities in major regions of the world.
• Delineation of current and emerging applications of aerogels identified and divided by sector (i.e., thermal and acoustic insulation, electronics, chemical and environmental, medical/ biological/pharmaceutical/personal care, sensors and instrumentation, energy, aerospace and space exploration, consumer, and defense).
• A breakdown of the global industry structure, including a complete list of suppliers with descriptions of their products and comprehensive company profiles.
• A patent analysis by region, country, assignee, category, application, and material type.

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