Synthetic gypsum is a by-product of various industrial processes. In the US and Europe alone there is an estimated 36 million tonnes of this material in 2017.
Smithers Apex’s new report – The Future of Synthetic Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2027 – states that the current supply of synthetic gypsum is primarily in the USA, Europe, and China. In 2014 those three regions accounted for 96% of worldwide production. The forecast is for modest growth in the USA, a decline in Europe, and growth in China for the next ten years. This change may well have a significant impact on future applications for the material.
The synthetic gypsum industry is at a very interesting and dynamic point in time. The outlook for the next ten years is positive, but not without threats. Opportunities abound for new applications, coupled with an increased supply. Innovation is coming in the form of research into the raw material. There is a specific focus on enhancing material properties and handleability. New research into old applications such as roadbed stabilisation is ongoing. Product line extensions within the plasterboard industry would be a natural progression, determined by the long-term availability of synthetic gypsum.
There are many forms of synthetic gypsum that are produced. Some come as a by-product of making certain acids; but the major market for synthetic gypsum comes in the form of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) gypsum, which is a by-product of the process of controlling emissions in a coal-fired facility. The market for the material exploded in the 1990s when it was recognised as a sustainable raw material in the manufacture of plasterboard and cement. The demand for FGD plasterboard will only increase, as for all plasterboard. The issue will be the supply of the raw material, when availability in certain regions will shift with time.
The global demand for plasterboard is seen as increasing. In the USA it is reported that 50% of the produced plasterboard is made predominantly from FGD. Given the high rate of utilisation and the increased demand for the product, the market for synthetic gypsum will also rise.
There are several drivers that will have an impact on the future of synthetic gypsum. The single largest driver is regulations that govern coal-fired plants. The future of synthetic gypsum, FGD, is directly linked to the future of coal-fired power plants. The Clean Air Act of 1970 spawned the need for wet-lime scrubbers to meet the more stringent government regulations on SO2 emissions. Over the following years these regulations forced the retrofitting of wet-lime scrubbers on existing coal-fired power plants. This was a boost for synthetic gypsum.
Sustainability is now a large driver in the design and construction of new buildings. Architects and owners are striving to make their projects more sustainable. New building regulations cover both sustainability and energy consumption. This works well with synthetic gypsum, for it is seen as a desirable building material based on its sustainability attributes.
The Future of Synthetic Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2027 is based on extensive primary and secondary research from multiple sources. Interviews were carried out with individuals within major producing companies and other industry participants, including trade associations, to create an unrivalled picture of synthetic gypsum supply at a local level. Additional data was derived from various published sources, including conference papers and corporate information taken from published financial and technical reports, as well as industry organizations and surveys.
The Future of Synthetic Gypsum: Market Forecasts to 2027 is available for £4,500.
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