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The global fly ash market size was valued at USD 12.25 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 12.70 billion in 2022 to USD 19.19 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with fly ash experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 3.3% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Fly or flue ash is a fine substance that flies from the coal combustion chambers and is captured by the emission control such as scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators or fabric filters. A very large amount of ash is produced from various thermal power plants, and their disposal has become one of the major environmental challenges. A few years back, flue ash was generated by burning coal-fired power plants, and the material is considered of very low value and was only useful for landfilling. Its usefulness in cement has become an important discovery as it is used as a pozzolanic additive in cement. In the U.S., more than half of the concrete produced today uses coal ash in some quantity as a substitute for traditional material.
The downturn in Construction Sector Negatively Impacted the Global Market
The pandemic COVID-19 is expected to have an adverse effect on the market all over the globe. The impact of COVID-19 is expected to reflect in 2020 and 2021 very severely, as lockdowns in various countries are preventing people from going out and working. The construction industry is expected to be on hold for a few months or maybe for a year. The construction industry is majorly labor-based, and thus the pandemic is expected to have a heavy impact on the market. The pandemic has severely impacted the cement production and operations of various countries. For instance, China's cement output was 769 million tons from January to May 2020, down by 8.2% year on year.
Additionally, the operations of mining companies were also affected significantly. Due to transportation restrictions, the companies were forced to put operations on hold. The drop in demand for crude oil globally also impacted the market. As the movement of citizens was restricted, the demand for fuels slumped, and the price of crude oil entered negative territory. This led to a fall in the consumption of oil & gas applications.
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Rising Ash Utilization in Ceramics is Expected to Aid the Market Growth
Fly ash is made up of oxides such as Al2O3, SiO2, CaO, and Fe2O3, and thus it gained attention from low-cost material manufacturers such as glass-ceramics, ceramics, and glass materials. The basic phase of manufacture is the temperature activation of raw carbon ash with various temperatures and co-reagents directing the final form of glass or ceramics. To manufacture ceramic tiles, flue ash is used in 60:40 ratios with kaolin clay. Carbon ash mixed with high CaO and lower particle size would decrease the firing shrinkage in ceramics. The usage of ceramic tiles increases the ash utilization and reduces the landfill and the cost of raw materials in the tiles industry.
Renovation and replacement activities due to the rise in spending capacity are surging the demand for ceramic products, generating a growth opportunity for the market. Consumers from North America and European countries are spending hefty sums on ceramic tiles with functionality such as scratch resistance, slip-in resistance, and anti-bacterial. The rise in demand for ceramic tiles for applications in innovative interior décor is estimated to surge the consumption.
Increasing Demand for Flue Ash in Construction Industry to Drive the Market
Ash is majorly used in Portland pozzolana cement and the manufacturing of bricks. Apart from the conservation of soil, it doesn’t emit greenhouse gases during the production process, and thus it also has environmental benefits. The task of promoting this ash in construction materials is undertaken by various stakeholders, including government departments and ministries and academic and R&D institutions. In India, the responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies and schemes is taken by the central and state governments of India. Government buildings such as banks and financial institutes, research institutes, technology service providers, private builders and government departments and civil society organizations use coal ash in their construction materials to promote the growth in construction applications.
Moreover, the growing commercialization is driving cement consumption for infrastructure construction supported by economic development. The rising need for non-residential establishments, such as malls, airports, roads, office buildings, industries & production plants, and warehouses, will support the market growth. Additionally, the gradual rise in disposable income has surged the trend for improving home and office aesthetics, thereby surging the demand for precast products such as blocks, panels, roof tiles, and others. The use of these products makes the structure more appealing and homely. This led to a rise in demand for the manufacturing of precast products.
Poor Ash Quality to Hamper the Market Growth
Quality is important, and it can have a negative effect on the concrete industry. The primary advantage of good quality ash is reduced permeability at a lower cost, but conversely, the poor quality can lead to an increase in permeability. Ash, which is produced in the power plant, is compatible with concrete, but some cannot be improved sufficiently for the use in concrete. Moreover, high carbon ash materials tend to use more water and could darken the concrete as well. Usage of high carbon content ash is recommended with the usage of an air-entraining agent, which increases the cost.
Decreasing the use of thermal power in the energy mix will portray another restraint for the market. The major source of fly ash is coal-fired power plants, wherein the product is obtained as a residue. With the rising level of pollution, greenhouse gases, and carbon emission associated with the fossil-fuel-based power plants, governments and companies have started to rely more on non-conventional or green sources of energy to reduce the environmental impact. The production of coal in the U.S., Europe, and India is declining as these countries are investing heavily in the development of infrastructure for renewable energy sources. All these factors result in steep maintenance costs for these systems, which has become a key challenge for the growth of the market.
Attributed to Higher Adoption, Class F Segment Accounted for the Largest Share in 2021
Based on type, the market is classified into class F and class C. Class F ash originated from anthracite and bituminous coals. It consists mainly of silica and alumina and has lower calcium content as compared to class C. In Portland cement, class F ash is used as a replacement with 20-30% of cementitious materials. When class F ash is used, it offers advantages such as increase in compressive strength, resistance to alkali-silica reaction, resistance to sulfate attack, less heat generation, and decreased water demand.
Class C ash mainly consists of calcium alumino-sulfate glass, quartz, tricalcium aluminate, and free lime (CaO). It typically contains more than 20% of CaO, and thus is also referred to as high calcium fly ash. Class C ash is mostly used in the concrete foundation to control the temperature rise.
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Wide Acceptance in Cement & Concrete Industries to Boost Growth of the Segment
Based on application, the market is segmented into cement & concretes, fills & embankments, waste stabilization, mining, oilfield service, road stabilization, and others. The cement & concretes segment holds the largest fly ash market share in the global market. The ash is widely used in cement application, as the construction sector is registering very healthy growth, and thus the demand for cement is increasing at a fast pace. The usage of cement concrete has many benefits and also improves the concrete performance in both fresh and hardened states. Ash used in concrete improves the workability of plastic concrete, durability, and strength of hardened concrete.
Coal ash is usually used as fill material for embankment construction applications or for mixing with murum sand to improve the properties of murum sand. With a faster rate of consolidation, a major part of the decrease in volume occurs during the primary consolidation phase, which is generated rapidly, making ash an ideal material for fill embankments. Flue ash is used for the stabilization or solidification of waste to reduce the leachability of the product. Stabilization immobilizes the hazardous materials or reduces their solubility through appropriate chemical reactions. Bricks and blocks made from ash are excellent products for the construction of stoppings in underground mines. This ash can also be used for leveling overburden dumps produced during the opencast mining activities. Blends of Portland cement and ash are widely used in the oilfield industry. The addition of cement slurries improves compressive strength, reduces cement permeability and allows lower density slurries while maintaining good mechanical properties. Mechanical road stabilization includes compaction, blending of aggregates to improve gradation and addition of asphalt. Pulverized fuel ash is used as a mineral aggregate with asphalt binder to make asphalt concrete commonly used to surface roads. The other applications include thermoplastics, geopolymers, catalysts, and metal matrix composites. The growth of this segment is associated with the rising number of industrialization and infrastructure development activities in the growing economies.
Asia Pacific Fly Ash Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 9.29 billion in 2021. In 2021, Asia Pacific occupied the dominant share of the global market. China holds the major share in the regional market, backed by higher demand from the cement industry. China and India globally are the leading manufacturers of cement and cement products. The region is experiencing high demand for cement due to the rapid expansion of the building & construction industry. Additionally, both the countries are major exporters of cement globally. Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries are significantly contributing to the market growth. Key factors such as changing demographics, increasing disposable income in emerging & high populated countries, and urbanization activities are fueling the fly ash market growth.
In Europe, coal ash produced is used in the construction industry, civil engineering, and as construction materials in underground mining or for restoration of open cast mines, quarries, and pits, and for infill of mine shafts and subsurface mine workings. The utilization across European countries is different and mainly based on national experience and tradition. According to the European Coal Combustion Products Association (ECOBA), a significant amount of flue ash is used in concrete addition, blended cement, cement raw materials, road construction, concrete blocks, and others. Numerous studies have reported the possible application of fly ash in the production of cement and concrete, roads and embankments, mineral fillers in mixed asphalt, lightweight aggregate, bricks, geopolymers, mine backfilling, environmental applications, rare earth elements acquiring, and agriculture.
North America is a well-established market. Rising demand from applications, such as waste management and precast concrete products, is creating lucrative opportunities for manufacturers to gain a competitive edge in this market. The primary driving factor for the market in the U.S. is rising demand from the cement and concrete industry for applications in precast concrete products. The region is the most technologically modern in the construction industry, and the new rising trend of sustainable & time-efficient construction practices will substantially surge the demand for precast products.
In Latin America, the product finds applications for agriculture soil restoration or stabilization and wastewater management. Rapid development is observed in the agriculture industry due to the most favorable weather conditions, which leads to higher crop rotation. This causes soil erosion and degradation. Ash can be used to improve the coarse-textured soils and increase the soil moisture-holding capacity, which is helpful in increasing plant growth.
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In the Middle East & Africa, the market is projected to have significant growth due to rising application in mining and oilfield industries. The region consists of rich oil-producing and mining countries that have doubled the demand in the past few years and are expected to continue during the forecast period. The addition of coal ash in cement slurries improves compressive strength and sulfate resistance, reduces cement permeability, and allows lower density slurries while maintaining good mechanical properties. The use of the product in Portland cement allows higher properties while also meeting regulatory requirements, thereby causing high demand in the oilfield industry for oil well cement.
Acquisition & Merger is the Main Strategy Adopted by Leading Operating Players
The competitive landscape of the market depicts a consolidated market with the top 10 companies accounting for about 50% of the global market revenue. Key players in the market have invested a considerable amount of resources in the research and development of several ash products. A product portfolio, supported by superior operational efficiency, and safe & novel technology development for composites application are the strategies used by the market leaders for their growth. Furthermore, small and medium-scale companies have adapted the strategy of mergers and partnerships with larger enterprises to improve their offering portfolio and other related services. This trend is projected to positively impact the global market during the forecast period as smaller companies can gain a lot from the experience of the market leaders.
An Infographic Representation of Fly Ash Market
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The global market research report provides both qualitative & quantitative insights on fly ash across the world. Quantitative insights include market sizing in terms of value (USD Billion) & volume (Kilo Tons) across each segment, sub-segment, and region profiled in the scope of study. Also, it provides market analysis and growth rates of segment, sub-segment, and key counties across each region. Qualitative insight covers the elaborative analysis of key market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, and industry trends related to the market. The competitive landscape section covers detailed company profiling of the major players operating in the industry.
Volume (Kilo Tons), Value (USD Billion)
By Type, Application, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 12.25 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 19.19 billion by 2029.
Growing at a CAGR of 6.1%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period.
Class F is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.
Increasing demand for cement & concrete applications is the key driver for the market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2021.
Boral Ltd., Cemex S.A.B. De C.V., and LafargeHolcim Ltd. are a few of the leading players in the market.
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