The global cellular glass market size was valued at USD 549 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 852 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Cellular glass is a type of insulation made of small pieces of glass, limestone, and carbon. Since it is resistant to moisture, lets air through, and has high compressive strength, it can be used to insulate process pipes in humid conditions. Furthermore, cellular glass is a popular insulator in the building industry. This primarily drives the global cellular glass market. New technology uses silicate, volcanic glassy rocks, and aluminosilicate to make cellular glass. This is expected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the market.
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Cellular glass is highly preferred as an insulating material in critical enclosures, building fireproof panels, and green roof insulation. This is because it is air and vapor tight, reduces the risk of humidity build-up, and cannot catch fire. Other cellular glasses like positive roofs, inclined roofs, and inverted roofs are used as insulation materials outside the buildings in flower plantation fields. This is a major factor in the growth of the market as a whole.
A rise in population has also increased construction activities, which drives the demand for cellular glass. The market has grown swiftly because people are becoming more interested in saving energy. In Denmark, cellular glass was used to build a whole energy-efficient building called a "passive house wall." This house was built as part of Grasten Teglvaerk's Clean Tech Block project. The project manager says this house was built to show how strong and energy-efficient cellular glass is. Therefore, the growth of the global market is driven by the rise in the use of cellular glass in the building industry.
Cellular glass can hold a lot of weight, making it an excellent insulating material for building the base of a tank to store cryogenic fluids. Cellular glass in the form of blocks is used to keep LNG, ethylene, oxygen, and nitrogen from getting too hot while they are being stored. It is put between two layers of capping material like bitumen or hot asphalt made from hessian.
It is also used to insulate cold pipes and equipment for things like LNG piping, stainless steel hot water lines, hot oil piping, and industrial spaces that need to be safe. For example, Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, a leading manufacturer and supplier of insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composite materials, says the cellular glass is used to build 75% of LNG storage equipment above ground level. Cellular glass is a base material with another material on top or between. Therefore, these factors make more people opt for cellular glass for storage, boosting the market growth.
Since cellular glass is fragile, it can be damaged by the vibrations from process pumps. Cellular glass is also sensitive to chemicals like potassium and sodium hydroxide solutions. Hence, it cannot be used to insulate pipes that carry these fluids or solutions. Additionally, the market's growth is likely to be slowed by the fact that there are other insulating materials like phenolic insulants that cost less than cellular glass.
Cellular glass can only be used in temperatures between 268°C and 482°C. Therefore, it is rarely used in industrial applications that need to work with temperatures above this range. Instead, other insulation materials are usually used. Furthermore, breathing in the fumes of cellular glass can dry out and irritate the mucous membranes. When cellular glass is burned, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide gas are made. Consequently, the health risks of cellular glass slow the growth of the market around the world.
Cellular glass has better thermal resistance, strength under pressure, and stability in size. Since it does not absorb water, it is used as insulation in cold storage facilities and cold process services. It is also a good substitute for cork, which is used in submarines as a flotation block. For example, in the US, army submarines use cellular glass to hold up nets even after being broken by gunfire from submarine surface guns. Furthermore, underground construction has led to an increase in the number of underground utility systems. These systems must be protected from water. Cellular glass is also used as an insulating material for utilities due to its natural thermal property.
Additionally, different equipment is used in the process industry, where the temperature cycle constantly changes in process lines, equipment, or utilities. This temperature difference can cause the dimensions to become unstable. Cellular glass can handle temperature changes, making it a good material for process industries. Cellular glass is also used in commercial flooring, underground steam distribution systems, and insulation in heated floors, terraces, and pools, making it more popular worldwide. These factors give rise to umpteen market opportunities for the global cellular glass market growth.
The global cellular glass market share is segmented by type and application.
Type-wise, the global cellular glass market forecast is classified into Open Glass and Closed glass.
Closed Cellular Glass is the largest market shareholder and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period. Cellular glass with a closed-cell structure is mainly used as aggregates for thermal simulation and as a drainage layer because it does not let water in. This major market trend has led more people to choose closed-cell glass over the open-cell glass.
Cellular glass with open cells is made by mixing recycled glass with a calcium carbonate foaming agent. It is used in the building industry to insulate flat roofs and make fire-resistant insulation. Open glass is excellent for construction and industrial uses because it is resistant to acids, stays the same size, cannot catch fire, has high compressive strength, and keeps pests out.
Application-wise, the global cellular glass market is classified into Construction and Industrial.
Construction has the maximum market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period. Since it is light, strong, and long-lasting, cellular glass can be used in many ways in the construction industry. It is used to keep data centers, airports, and water treatment plants from getting too hot. It needs a strong foundation and filling material to support the weight of a large building. Cellular glass aggregates with pieces 10–75 mm in size are often used as insulation filler and can be used to insulate the drainage layer of garden roofs.
The Industrial segment ranks second to the construction segment. Most people prefer to use cellular glass as insulation for storage tanks, vessels, and spheres. Tanks with a flat bottom, tanks with a spherical shape, and tanks with a cylindrical shape are just some of the shapes in which these industrial storage devices come. Thus, the industrial segmentation has a substantial market value second to the construction sub-segment.
Region-wise, the global cellular glass market trends is primarily segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa.
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Asia-Pacific holds the leading position in the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period. The cellular glass market in Asia-Pacific is growing because more people are opting for cellular glass instead of polymer foams. Cellular glass is better for the environment and lasts longer. Yerevan, a country in the Asia-Pacific region, uses a single technology process with nano-dispersed modifiers to make high-performance cellular glass. Other than this, the increasing population, which eventually raises the number of constructions, is another significant reason for the region's dominance in the global cellular glass market.
Europe is the second-largest region in the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6%, accounting for USD 200 million by 2030. The market for cellular glass in Europe is studied across Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, Russia, and the rest of Europe. Loose-fill cellular glass is widely used in capillary water tubes as an insulating barrier and a lightweight filling material. It is also used for building underground drainage systems in Europe. The European Government has been setting up different test plans, such as Common Understanding of Assessment Procedure (CUAP) and DIBt, which lays a strong foundation for the cellular glass market growth in the region.
The US, Canada, and Mexico are all looked at for the cellular glass market in North America. Cellular glass is widely used in construction to make commercial roofs and insulate mission-critical buildings like data centers and casinos. Since it is strong and stable, cellular glass is also used in many industrial applications, which is why it has earned whopping figures in the global cellular glass market analysis. Furthermore, the growing number of industries in the region also contributes to the growth of the North American region.