Low Iron Glass Market size is expected to reach US$6.5 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period 2022-2027. The technology
has been advancing over the past few years due to which the demand for low iron
glass in multiple applications requiring excellent neutrality, high
transparency, and safety has also increased significantly. Low iron glass
companies are substantially investing in the development of new technologies
associated with the low iron glass to ensure reliable, and efficient
utilization of low iron glass for use in major end-users which include building
& construction, solar energy, and more. Moreover, low-iron glass offers
superior brightness and clarity along with offering higher visible light
transmittance than traditional clear glass. Applications that require an
unrestricted view can see remarkable improvement with the use of low-iron glass
over traditional glass options. As a result, low-iron glass companies are
launching new products with updated technological advancements, which is
expected to create a potential opportunity for the growth of the market.
The preference for low iron glass has been increasing rapidly, owing to its range of benefits such as excellent neutrality, high transparency, clarity, high light and solar heat transmittance, and more in comparison to other types of standard glass. The development of new technologies associated with the low iron glass to ensure reliable, and efficient utilization of low iron glass for use in major end-users which include building & construction, solar energy, and more are further fueling the growth of the market. For instance, in November 2020, Guardian Glass partnered with Eastman to provide new superior low-iron glass products for use in both the commercial and residential markets. Both the companies jointly launched a new technological solution called Saflex Crystal Clear PVB interlayer, capable of producing one of the most color neutral, vivid laminated low-iron glass products. The increasing demand for low iron glass for use in solar energy applications which include solar panels, photovoltaics, and other applications is further expected to accelerate the growth of the market. For instance, in 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) announced that at least US$ 15 billion of solar power projects are expected to operate in the region in the next five years. This, in turn, is expected to drive the demand for low iron glass from the solar energy sector, owing to its high light and solar heat transmittance properties. Furthermore, in February 2021, Vitro Architectural Glass launched SOLARBAN R77, a low iron glass specifically designed for providing a crisp, reflective silver-blue aesthetic that offers building-code-friendly solar performance. Thus, such product launches and developments associated with low iron glass are expected to increase its demand for use in various end-uses as stated above. This is anticipated to drive the growth of the low iron glass market during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 outbreak led to major economic problems and challenges for the residential, commercial, electronics, and other industrial sectors across the world. According to the World Bank, the global GDP growth declined by 3.6% in 2020, owing to the economic impact of COVID-19. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the GDP growth of Asia declined by 1.3% in 2020 as a result of strict lockdowns and the decline of industrial activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government of various countries across the world announced strict measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and only the production of essential commodities was allowed, which impacted the non-essential commodity industries, thereby impacting the production of low iron glass as well. Moreover, strict lockdown measures, social distancing norms, and supply chain disruption caused delays in the production of low iron glass, which in turn, impacted the low iron glass market. Furthermore, in the year 2020, several development projects for new residential, commercial, electronics, and other industrial sectors and facilities were delayed, and manufacturers were experiencing short-term operating challenges due to supply chain disruptions and a lack of site access due to pandemic-induced limitations. However, economic stimulus packages allotted for multiple sectors and the start of industrial production activities in 2021 are improving the low iron glass market growth by its increasing utilization in various end-users. In the long run, the industry will recover the losses induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asia-Pacific held the largest share in the low iron glass market. The flourishing building & construction, electrical & electronics, and solar sector industries are driving the low iron glass market growth in the region. According to the Korea Energy Agency (KEA), in 2019 the supply of photovoltaics for solar energy projects in South Korea was 2,787,935 units, an increase of 41% over the previous year. According to the General Statistics Office (GSO) Vietnam, the area of floors of residential buildings constructed in the period 2016-2019 increased by 419 million m2, an increase of 18.6 percent over the period 2012-2015. The floor area of apartment buildings increased by 66.1 percent, single-detached houses increased by 17.3 percent, and villas increased nearly 2.3 times. According to Invest India, there is a total of 115 future construction projects which are under the planning phase in India, and the value of these projects is about US$11.63 million, these projects include the construction of hotels, office buildings, and shopping complexes, and more. According to Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), in 2020, the Japanese production of Electronic boards was Yen486,867 million (US$4,562.9 million), and in 2021 it was 648,280 million yen (US$5,904.5 million), an increase of 33.2%. With the flourishing building & construction, electrical & electronics, and solar sector industry, the demand for low iron glass is also being spurred in APAC. Therefore, the growth of solar power projects and residential construction projects in the rest of Asia-Pacific countries is fueling the market in the region.
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Low Iron Glass Market Growth Drivers:
Increasing Demand From the Building & Construction Industry
Low iron glass is primarily used in the building and construction industry in a wide range of exterior architectural applications which include residential and commercial buildings where excellent neutrality, high transparency, and clarity are required. It is also used in interior architectural applications that require undistorted color neutrality. For instance, in 2020, the Ho Chi Minh City Committee in Vietnam announced the commencement of building a high-rise condominium with commercial services, in Ward 16, District 8 of Ho Chi Minh City. The project is undergoing development and is expected to be completed in 2024. Recent insights from Construct Connect state that the US government has funded around US$ 20 billion for the construction of a real estate and development project called One Central Project in Chicago which includes the development of multiple residential and commercial buildings. The project is in phase 1 and currently undergoing construction in 2022. Phase 2 is expected to begin in 2025 and be completed by 2040. Furthermore, YIT Corporation commenced the construction of numerous residential apartment building projects in Finland, the CEE countries, and Russia in December 2021, with total investments of around EUR 200 million (US$ 236.5 million). The projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. In this way, an increase in such new building and construction projects in multiple countries across the world is expected to increase the demand for low iron glass for use in exterior and interior applications, owing to its superior clarity, and higher light transmission properties. This is expected to accelerate the growth of the market in the upcoming years.
An Increase In Initiatives Related To Green Buildings & Solar Sector
The properties of low iron glass such as higher light transmission, excellent clarity, and superior brightness make them ideal for use in green buildings as it emits natural brightness in the building space. Moreover, low iron glass offers improved solar energy conversion and consistent performance following prolonged exposure to the sun. Hence, it is primarily used in solar panels, photovoltaic modules, solar thermal collectors, and solar mirrors utilized in the solar industry. In 2020, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) of China implemented Urban Renewal Actions as a part of the 14th Five-Year Plan. This urban regeneration initiative aims at producing greener and more efficient cities with the development of green buildings across the country. According to the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), Mexico certified 47 LEED green building projects in 2021, representing more than 955,000 gross square meters (GSM) of space. In 2021, United Arab Emirates approved 73 newly constructed buildings covering an area of 1,275,916.01 square meters as the green buildings. In 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) announced that at least US$ 15 billion of solar power projects are expected to operate in the region in the next five years as a part of its initiative to increase the use of renewable energy sources in the region. Furthermore, the Spanish National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) has set an initiative to install more than 39 gigawatts of solar PV power in the country by 2030. Thus, such increasing initiative toward the development of green buildings and solar power sectors in multiple regions across the world is expected to create an opportunity for the growth of the low iron glass market in the upcoming years.
Researchers and companies are heavily investing in the research and development of low-iron glass to provide enhanced glass to the end-use industries. In February 2021, Vitro Architectural Glass launched SOLARBAN R77, a low iron glass specifically designed for providing a crisp, reflective silver-blue aesthetic that offers building-code-friendly solar performance. It fulfills the demand for a product that is capable of capturing the visual character of the sky and its surrounding environment while also enabling its consumers to meet the increasingly stringent building code mandates. Furthermore, in November 2020, Guardian Glass partnered with Eastman to provide new superior low-iron glass products in both the commercial and residential markets. Both the companies jointly launched a new technological solution called Saflex Crystal Clear PVB interlayer, capable of producing one of the most color neutral, vivid laminated low-iron glass products.
The Major Players in this Market Include
The major companies in the ion-exchange resins market include Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., AGC Inc., Xinyi Glass Holdings Limited, Vitro, Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd., Sisecam Group, Guardian Glass, Schott AG, Taiwan Glass Ind. Corp., Zhuzhou Kibing Group Co. Ltd. The key focus of the companies has shifted towards product launch, expansion, and acquisition.
In March 2022, Saint Gobain invested INR 500 crore (approx. US$65.97 million) to build a new float glass facility along with an integrated window line in its World Glass Complex located in Chennai, India. The new facility is expected to meet the growing demand and needs for architectural, automotive, and solar applications. In addition to this, the integrated window line will be Asia’s largest fully integrated facility with an annual capacity of 1 million windows by the end of 2022. This expansion aimed to expand its presence in the Indian market. In April 2022, the Vasa plant, a subsidiary of NSG and Pilkington, started the operation of its new factory in Vidrieria, Argentina. This plant will manufacture low iron float glass. The expansion will result in an increased production of low iron float glass.
In July 2021, AGC expanded its low-iron float glass portfolio with two new thicknesses, Planibel Clearvision 15 mm and 19 mm. The goal of this launch was to enable the requirement of architects and designers in projects requiring exceptional transparency. Planibel Clearvision is the ideal solution when crystal-clear vision and absolute clarity are required. In February 2021, Vitro Architectural Glass launched low iron glass named SOLARBAN R77 glass for the South American market. To position itself as a leading player in the South American market.\
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