Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), also known as autoclaved cellular concrete (ACC) or autoclaved lightweight concrete (ALC), is a lightweight precast building material whose adoption has been on the rise recently.
Although the product has been used since 1923, it has garnered immense popularity recently, due to its ability to provide rigid structure, insulation, fire resistance, and economy of construction. AAC has a porous structure. It contains pockets of trapped air, which make it lighter than other building materials. The material can be employed for internal as well as external construction, due to its high thermal insulation and ease of installation. AAC is used as an eco-friendly green building material in residential, commercial, and other types of construction. It is manufactured using fly ash, which is an unavoidable waste of thermal power plants and is available in abundance. Also, AAC is an energy-efficient building material, and it reduces the total cost of construction. Energy consumed for the production of AAC is less as compared to that for other building materials. AAC consumes approximately 50% less energy than concrete. Tiny air pockets and thermal mass of AAC offer thermal insulation, which reduces construction costs related to heating and air-conditioning. AAC reduces heating and cooling requirements by up to 30% due to its thermal insulation properties, resulting in continued financial benefits during the life of the construction.
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Increase in Construction Spending Driven by Expansion of the Construction Sector:
Demand for traditional building materials is primarily driven by expansion of the construction sector globally. Overall increase in construction and infrastructure-related activities worldwide has resulted in rise in demand for residential, commercial, and industrial construction, leading to consistent expansion in the building materials industry. Furthermore, macroeconomic factors such as GDP growth in Europe, gradual recovery in construction expenditure across residential and non-residential sectors, and anticipated expansion in the real estate sector supported by government initiatives for providing affordable housing are expected to drive the AAC market. Construction of a wall with AAC block walls results in a cost savings as compared to traditional bricks. Due to the low density offered by AAC, the structural load (dead load) is very less, and the structural members can be designed accordingly. In turn, the requirement for concrete and steel is less for the foundation and all structural members of the building. The number of joints is less because of the bigger size of AAC blocks. This reduces the requirement for cement mortar. The labor required to lay AAC blocks is also considerably less, and this results in considerable time savings.
High Investment Costs Associated with the Production of AAC
AAC has demonstrated its benefits for more than 70 years, owing to its properties such as high heat and fire insulation capacity. AAC structural members with reinforcement can be combined in an integrated production with non-reinforced block material, etc. The integrated production of reinforced products and block materials requires a qualified plant facility with an advanced reinforcement technology. AAC products are manufactured in block factories or in factories with an integrated reinforcement technology that allows for the manufacture of AAC products such as deck and roof elements, wall panels, and lintels apart from blocks. In terms of volume, the production of advanced reinforced components such as panels and lintels has remained subdued as compared to that of blocks. The investment required for building an integrated production facility for manufacturing panels and lintels along with blocks is more than twice that of a simple block.
A plant designed to produce reinforced products is also capable of producing blocks but with slight modifications. However, plants designed specifically for producing blocks have lower capital cost than those designed to manufacture reinforced products. Moreover, the process time required in case of panels and lintels for pressure rise and curing in autoclaves is almost twice that of blocks
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Affordable Housing in Emerging Nations:
The demand for affordable housing is likely to remain robust, driven by a rising population, young demographic profile, shift toward nuclear families, and rapid urbanization. For instance, the market potential of affordable housing projects in India is expected to touch US$ 930 Bn by 2022. The Indian government’s scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, aims to construct two crore (20 million) houses in India, in three phases, till 2022. Housing shortage is expected to increase from the current level of 19 million units to 25 million by 2021, based on a stable decadal growth rate.
The demand for AAC is Primarily Driven by the Increasing Use of AAC Blocks as a Preferred Building Material
The autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) market has been segmented based on product and end-use. Based on product, the AAC market has been divided into block, wall panel, floor panel, roof panel, cladding panel, and others. In terms of end-use, the market has been classified into residential, commercial, and others. Blocks was the dominant product segment of the AAC market in 2017. In terms of revenue, the blocks segment accounted for more than 48% share of the global AAC market in 2017. The panel segment is also likely to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period, as panels offer a combination of strength and thermal and acoustic insulation. AAC wall panels are an ideal building solution for large-scale, industrial, and commercial construction
Residential Sector on Account of Rapid Urbanization Particularly in Emerging Economies is the Dominant End User Segment
In terms of end-use, the residential construction segment dominated the global AAC market in 2017. Rise in urbanization, increased purchasing power, growing population, and need for affordable housing are estimated to drive the AAC market in developing countries during the forecast period. However, lack of awareness about AAC among construction professionals, builders, developers, and architects is likely to act as a restraint for the global AAC market.
Europe is the Largest Consumer and Producer of AAC
Demand for AAC is high in Europe, followed by Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa. AAC products have been in use in Europe for more than 70 years. Europe dominated the global AAC market in terms of revenue, accounting for more than 34% share of the global market in 2017. This is due to the presence of local AAC manufacturing facilities across Europe, with countries such as Poland, Russia, Germany, and the U.K. dominating the market in the region. The AAC market in Asia Pacific is estimated to expand significantly during the forecast period. This is attributed to a growing population and rapid urbanization, especially in emerging countries such as China and India. Increase in the number of infrastructure and commercial development activities is expected to fuel demand for AAC in Middle East & Africa. The AAC market in North America is expected to expand at a steady pace during the forecast period, due to prevalence of wood-based construction across the region and a limited number of AAC manufacturing facilities. Moreover, government initiatives to promote green building construction and establishment of state councils in various regions by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) are likely to propel the AAC market in North America and Latin America
Enhancement of Production Capabilities by Key Players
Key players profiled in the report of the AAC market include Xella Group, H+H International, SOLBET, ACICO, AERCON AAC, UltraTech Cement Ltd., Biltech Building Elements Limited, AKG Gazbeton, Bulidmate, Eastland Building Materials Co., Ltd., Brickwell, and UAL Industries Ltd. Major players operating in the market are investing significantly in the expansion of production capacity in order to meet the increase in demand. For instance, CSR Hebel, Australia’s leading manufacturer of high-quality autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), expanded its production capacity by building a second production line in Somersby, Australia in September 2017. This highly automated plant is specially designed for panel production only and is expected to have a capacity of 300,000 cubic meters per year. The facility is equipped with the latest available Aircrete technology, making it one of the world’s most advanced and highly automated AAC panel plants.
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