Refrigerants are defined as chemicals that act as a heat transfer medium in cooling equipment. They function on the principle of transferring heat by absorbing heat at low temperature and pressure and releasing it at high temperature and pressure. The market for refrigerants is expected to exhibit steady growth throughout the forecast period. The market in the developed economies of Europe and North America is expected to witness slow growth due to changing trends regarding restriction in the use of fluorocarbons under regulations of the Montreal Protocol. Hydrocarbons (HC) refrigerants are expected to gain importance in North America due to the rapid shift from fluorocarbons to HC-based refrigerants. The market in several growing economies of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa is expected to witness high growth owing to increasing spending power, growth in infrastructure industry, and growth of manufacturing of consumer appliances.
The market for refrigerants is projected to grow from USD 21.25 billion in 2017 to reach USD 30.71 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.2%. The drivers for this market are increasing demand for consumer appliances such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment and the growing cold chain market. Factors such as growth in the organized retail framework, shift toward horticultural crops, and growth in the processed food sector have also contributed to the growth of refrigerants’ demand.
Source: MarketsandMarkets™ Analysis
Future trends in refrigerants:
Cold Chain - A cold chain is a supply chain involving a series of storage and distribution activities for maintaining a particular temperature range. It comprises of two segments – refrigerated transport that utilizes refrigerator trucks, cars, rail, and containers, among others, and surface storage that consists of refrigerated warehouses for storing perishable products. Food and pharmaceutical industries are the major end users contributing to the increase in demand for the cold chain. In the food industry, refrigeration systems use refrigerants to store and preserve food items. Factors such as technological advances, the increasing working population, increasing incomes, and changing food preferences are the major drivers of the cold chain sector. Moreover, the growth in the organized retail sector, shift toward horticultural crops, and growth in the processed food sector are also driving the demand for refrigerants. The pharmaceutical industry also requires low temperature conditions for the transport and storage of drugs. Factors such as the shift to biologics and other specialty pharmaceuticals and growing use of insulin products and vaccines are fueling the demand for refrigerants in this industry in the developing Asian economies. The pharmaceutical industry is witnessing significant growth in major emerging economies of APAC such as China and India. Growth in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to drive the market for refrigerants.
Consumer Appliances - Refrigerators and air conditioners are the most commonly used consumer appliances that require refrigerants. Increase in the standard of living, urbanization, and higher disposable incomes are factors contributing to the increasing demand for refrigerators and air-conditioners. The growing food and healthcare industries are also driving the market, as these industries require refrigerators for preserving food items and drugs, respectively. Other factors such as increasing population and rising consumption of frozen food are also contributing significantly to the increase in demand for refrigerants. Emerging markets such as China, India, and South Korea are in the process of rapid economic growth and industrialization. Production and consumption patterns in APAC for consumer appliances have significantly changed in recent years. Factor such as shifting of the manufacturing base of global consumer appliances manufacturers to India, Thailand, and China and the increasing standard of living are responsible for the changes in production and consumption patterns. All these factors are expected to drive the consumer appliances market for refrigerators and air-conditioners, which, in turn, is likely to drive the refrigerants market.
Natural Refrigerants - The most common natural refrigerants are ammonia; carbon dioxide; and HCs such as propane and isobutene, among others. Technological advancement in cooling equipment is replacing traditional refrigerants with natural refrigerants. This has led to an increase in the market share of natural refrigerants. Various applications such as air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heating systems use natural refrigerants.
Refrigerants will continue to exhibit a strong growth in future owing the growing cold chain, increasing demand for consumer appliances, rapid urbanization, increasing spending income, and growing population. However, the market will get witness demand fluctuations in major consuming regions, owing to the guidelines set by the Montreal Protocol. The main aim of this protocol is to minimize the damage caused to the ozone layer due to the use of refrigerant gases. Under this protocol, countries have agreed to phase out the use of ozone-depleting fluorinated refrigerant gases.