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Feature | December 2013

Efficient Energy By Insulation

Insulation market in India and across the world is positively correlated with the growth of real estate market. The right insulation material plays an important role in increasing the energy efficiency and resource optimisation for a building complex, finds PROJECTS INFO.  

In a developing country like India, the demand for insulation is majorly driven by the rising construction, power and other industrial activities. According to KK Mitra, Vice President (Marketing & Tech), Lloyd Insulations, "Overall, the market scenario is very good and encouraging. The market size in terms of value is around Rs 2,000 crore."


According to him, the Asia/Pacific region will remain the largest and fastest growing market, followed by North America. The best growth opportunities will be found in foamed plastic and fiberglass insulation. Analysts states that the present global insulation industry is around 17.7 billion sq m. In value terms, the global insulation market will be driven by an approximately 7 per cent rise in consumption through 2016, and will reach about $60 billion.


"Insulation market is growing at a great pace. Considering the opportunities, many International companies are interested in entering into Indian market," says Hardik Shah, Marketing (HOD), Adarsh Insulations.


In most developed countries, the insulation sales are expected to rebound after falling in 2008 and 2009 due to housing market collapses in several countries. Additionally, government efforts to reduce energy consumption will lead to the adoption of new building codes and thus increase insulation usage.


However, Cherag Dhuvad, Managing Partner, Associated Insulation Company said that at present the insulation industry is facing a slight slowdown due to the inadequate cash flow. It current market size is approximately Rs 200 - 300 crore.


In the meantime, growing concerns over energy consumption will also spur the demand for insulation, and while demand is expected to pick up across most global markets, the fastest growth is likely to be seen from the Asia Pacific region particularly China, India, Indonesia, and Thailand.


 Thermal Insulation plays an important role in every process / manufacturing plant from view point of energy conservation. In applications like hot / cold insulation properly designed 'Insulation System' can achieve any of the targets set through a focused Energy Conservation program implementing the designed insulation system through scientific erection practices at actual work site is the key to achieving these goals.


Informs Shah, "Recently, we have bagged various contracts for the insulation of cement plant, sugar plant and power plant wherein the work has already started and will be executed in a couple of months." He further added, "The total values of the contracts are around Rs 10 crore."


In addition, Associated Insulation Company is also currently working on Mahindra's phase III refinery project expansion. Meanwhile, the company is also working on Mangalore Petrochemical project. "Besides, we have taken insulation contract for around Rs 7.5 crore L&T project," adds Dhuvad.


Mitra of Lloyd Insulations says, "We have been awarded more than 100 industrial projects lined up that include the projects of NTPC, BHEL, Jindal Group, Reliance Group, Jaypee Group, L&T, etc." He further added, "We are currently working on the thermal insulation of the pipelines for 100 MW solar power plant project in Rajasthan. Our cost for this project is approximately Rs 400 crore."


However, industry experts believe that in terms of demand, as of now, the main thrust will on power plants, petrochemicals and refineries. Besides, the opportunities will also start picking up in the pharmaceuticals industry.


Thus, the opportunities are big, as infrastructure projects continue to grow, and the supply of insulating materials is linked with new projects. Construction is the second largest economic activity in India after agriculture, and has been growing rapidly. In this context, the sectors such as power plants, cement plants, refinery and petrochemical plants, and other manufacturing units are upcoming, therefore offering major opportunities to the insulation business.


Power projects
 The government has put around 23 big-ticket power projects, which were stalled on fast track. These projects are estimated to generate 23,000 MW of power capacity across the country. Thus, it's a great opportunity for all the Insulation industry in order to provide with its insulation solutions. The government has also approved around 13 power projects, entailing investments worth Rs 33,000 crore, which were pending approvals due to various reasons.


Cement expansion
 The cement industry of India is expected to add around 30-40 mtpa of capacity by 2014. The industry has a current capacity of 324 mtpa and operates at 75-80 per cent utilisation. "It is anticipated that the cement industry players will continue to increase their annual cement output in coming years and the country's cement production will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12 per cent during 2013-14 to reach 303 million metric tonne (MMT)," according to a report by RNCOS. Therefore, this industry is upcoming with a number of cement plant projects in various parts of the country.


Refinery and petrochemical projects
 India has evinced interest in building refineries and petrochemical plants in India as well as abroad. Infact, our country is keen in setting up gas-based projects including fertilizer plants in Iraq. India is emerging as a refinery hub and refining capacity exceeds the demand. The last decade has seen a tremendous growth into this sector. The country's refining capacity has increased to around 215.066 mmtpa at present, comprising of 22 refineries - 17 under Public Sector, three under private sector and two in Joint Venture (JV).


Insulation materials
 Insulation materials run the gamut from bulky fiber materials such as fiberglass, rock and slag wool, cellulose, and natural fibers to rigid foam boards to sleek foils.


Bulky materials resist conductive and to a lesser degree -û convective heat flow in a building cavity. Rigid foam boards trap air or another gas to resist conductive heat flow. Highly reflective foils in radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems reflect radiant heat away from living spaces, making them particularly useful in cooling climates. Other less common materials such as cementitious and phenolic foams and vermiculite and perlite are also available. Here are the five most common types of insulation materials:


Mineral Wool
 Mineral wool actually refers to several different types of insulation. First, it may refer to glass wool, which is fiberglass manufactured from recycled glass. Second, it may refer to rock wool, which is a type of insulation made from basalt. Finally, it may refer to slag wool, which is produced from the slag from steel mills. The majority of mineral wool in the United States is actually slag wool. The majority of mineral wool does not have additives to make it fire resistant, making it poor for use in situation where extreme heat is present. When used in conjunction with other, more fire resistant forms of insulation, mineral wool can definitely be an effective way of insulating large areas.


 Cellulose insulation is perhaps one of the most eco-friendly forms of insulation. Cellulose is made from recycled cardboard, paper, and other similar materials. Some recent studies on cellulose have shown that it might be an excellent product for use in minimising fire damage. Because of the compactness of the material, cellulose contains next to no oxygen within it. Without oxygen within the material, this helps to minimise the amount of damage that a fire can cause. So not only is cellulose perhaps one of the most eco-friendly forms of insulation, but it is also one of the most fire resistant forms of insulation. However, there are certain downsides to this material as well, such as the allergies that some people may have to newspaper dust. Also, finding individuals skilled in using this type of insulation is relatively hard compared to, say, fiberglass. Still, cellulose is a cheap and effective means of insulating.


Polypolyurethane foam
 While not the most abundant of insulations, polyurethane foams are an excellent form of insulation. Nowadays, polyurethane foams use non-chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas for use as a blowing agent. This helps to decrease the amount of damage to the ozone layer. They are relatively light, weighing approximately two pounds per cubic foot (2 lb/ft^3). They have an R-value of approximately R-6.5 per inch of thickness. There are also low density foams that can be sprayed into areas that have no insulation. These types of polyurethane insulation tend to have approximately R-3.6 rating per inch of thickness. Another advantage of this type of insulation is that it is fire resistant.


Building insulation
 Housing and commercial buildings in India generally feature brick-work for wall construction, and reinforced cement concrete (RCC) for the roofing. With brick and concrete construction, the building structures have a very limited thermal barrier. They are incapable of meeting the present Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) norms and added insulation has become absolutely necessary in every building that is air conditioned. Moreover, today's space efficient designs feature substantially thinner lightweight walls, interspersed with considerable glazed areas to admit daylight. Such buildings need careful design, incorporating substantially upgraded insulation, as well as thermally rated double glazing.


ECBC norms have spelt out bare minimum standards for insulation. Locations with extreme summer temperatures call for added insulation without exception. Wall and roof systems are required to be designed with correct insulation on a case by case basis in order to deliver comfortable working and living conditions. Major areas of our country have very high summer temperatures. Many areas also experience low to severe winter conditions. Low winter temperatures account for a substantial drain on energy used for heating. Adequate insulation is needed to ensure economy during both summer and winter seasons In many instances, insulation provided for energy conservation, also helps in control of noise. With application of mind at the right stage, designers can achieve excellent acoustical performance of buildings by correct design of the insulation system.


Benefits of insulation

  • Conserves energy by reducing heat loss or gain
  • Controls surface temperatures for personnel protection and comfort
  • Facilitates process temperature control
  • Prevents condensation on cold surfaces
  • Prevents or reduces damage to equipment from exposure to fire or corrosive
  • atmospheres
  • Controls noise

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