15 December 2018

Industry Focus- Geosynthetics Material

Geosynthetics: 

 

The changing trends of infrastructure

 

Geosynthetics have played a key role in infrastructure development as these materials provide improved quality while they bring down the carbon foot prints. In the last few decades, there has been a significant growth in the entire global geosynthetics market as a result of the growing urbanisation and the rise of infrastructure due to massive projects undertaken for nation building. However, there is a lot of work pending in the geosynthetics sector reports ROHAN AMBIKE.

 

The market for construction geosynthetics is still nascent in India, but it is now finding major applications in the infra sector. Given the life extension benefits and durability that geosynthetics provide, they are increasingly being used for road projects in regions with high soil erosion and those susceptible to the vagaries of climate change, especially in the North-East region. The term geosynthetics is generally used to designate a wide range of polymeric products used to elucidate civil engineering problems.

 

In the last few decades, there has been a significant growth in the entire global geosynthetics market as a result of the growing urbanisation and the rise of infrastructure due to massive projects undertaken for nation building. Geosynthetics or geosynthetic material, on a large scale is obtained from polymers and the properties that they retain once such materials are exposed to extreme conditions. India’s geosynthetics market has been witnessing a growth of 8-9 per cent in the past two-three years and was estimated to be around 138 million square metres in 2016. However, it still accounts for a minuscule 2 per cent share of the global volume.

 

However, their use is quite novel in the construction engineering and increasing every year in various segments such as bolstering of fill, controlling of pore water pressure, foundations and pavements. The main advantages associated with the utilization of geo-synthetics are cost effectiveness, easy and rapid instalment and possibility of controlling the quality as the products can suitably designed and manufactured in the factory.

 

 

Fast Facts

 

  • Low awareness of geosynthetics in Indian market
  • Stringent Green Regulations drive demand
  • By Application, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2012 – 2026”, the geotextiles market in India is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 12% during 2017 – 2026.
  • Around 77 per cent respondents displayed working knowledge of benefits associated with utilising geosynthetics.
  • India’s geotextiles’ market was valued at around $68 million in 2015, projected to grow at a CAGR of over 20 per cent over next nine years.

 

 

 

 

Products and their applications

 

 

There has been a growing use of geosynthetics material in the infrastructure sector. This is mostly done for building retaining walls, highways and other works. Also, works for ground improvement and shore protection works are being carried out. In the recent times when the constant change in the climate is having a serious impact and increasing the carbon footprint, geosynthetis products offer sustainable solutions. The potential for the use of geosynthetics is dependent on the soil type in the project area. Some of the areas where these materials can be used are black cotton soil, coastal and delta regions, hilly terrain and in reinforced soil structures.

 

The use of geosynthetics is done in the construction of infrastructure projects such as construction of retaining walls and steep slopes, highways, airports, municipal landfill sites and other works. However, with the constant changing climate there has been a rise in increasing carbon footprint which is a challenge for the environment.

 

Geosynthetics have played a key role in infrastructure development as these materials provide improved quality while they bring down the carbon foot prints. Therefore, emphasis is needed on indigenous development, constant research and continuous propagation of the material for its increased usage. Around 77 per cent respondents displayed working knowledge of benefits associated with utilising geosynthetics. However, only 69 per cent have used geosynthetics in at least one infrastructure project. Despite this only 54 per cent felt that supporting use of geosynthetics should be part of their agenda. Only 46 per cent respondents felt that their use should be at sole discretion of the concessionaires and contractors. 62 per cent respondents feel that lack of comprehensive inclusion of geosynthetics in State and regional SoRs (Schedule of Rates) is impeding inclusion of geosynthetics in the design phase of projects. Even more revealing is that the lack of Standards and Specifications was considered by 50 per cent respondents as a reason for this disparity in price and quality among manufacturers.

 

 

 

Demand Dynamics

 

According to a report, ‘India Geotextiles Market Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2011-2025’ published TechSci Research, India’s geotextiles’ market was valued at around $68 million in 2015, projected to grow at a CAGR of over 20 per cent over next nine years. This robust growth over next nine years is projected on the back of increasing awareness of benefits of geosynthetics in India’s construction sector, which is modernizing rapidly driven by its drive to modernise India’s infrastructure. There is increased application in construction and transport projects in place of concrete and asphalt. Significant government support on development of geotextiles market in India, and strong growth opportunities, is also fuelling demand for geotextiles in India. Additionally, increasing fast track roll out of infrastructure projects is fuelling growth of India’s geotextiles market.

 

 

 

Geosynthetics in India

 

There are various types of geotextiles used in India, like woven and non-woven geotextiles among others. Across different categories of geotextiles, non-woven type accounts for a larger share in the overall India geotextiles market and is expected to witness strong growth over the next nine years on account of low cost as well as increasing applications of non-woven geotextiles across various industries. Woven geotextiles are also projected to exhibit robust growth over the next nine years due to their ability to provide reinforcement. A major demand driver is stringent government policies and regulations on use of geotextiles and increasing investments in road construction projects are additional major factors driving India’s geotextiles market. However, high penetration of unorganized manufacturing units in India and a lack of significant technical expertise in the country pose a threat to the growth of geotextiles market in India.

 

 

 

Market scenario

 

Future Market Insights has conducted a comprehensive study of the global geosynthetics market in its recent report ‘Geosynthetics Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012-2016 and Opportunity Assessment 2017-2027’. The geosynthetics market is expected to grow at an exponential CAGR of 10.1% for the forecast period and be worth more than US$ 22 billion by end 2027.India is expected to post double-digit growth during 2017, while the geosynthetics industry is expected to record a CAGR of 5-8 per cent during 2015-22. The increased focus on infrastructure development augurs well for the geosynthetics industry. So far, however, the industry has not realised its full potential. The use of geosynthetic products in several emerging economies including India is quite low compared to that in developed countries.

 

According to experts, the Indian geosynthetics market in 2015 had covered sales of around 130 million square metres. According to “India Geotextiles Market, By Type, By Material, By Application, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2012 – 2026”, the geotextiles market in India is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 12% during 2017 – 2026. India geotextiles market has been broadly segmented into three categories, namely, woven, non-woven and knitted. Among these categories, non-woven geotextile segment occupied the largest share in India geotextiles market in 2016. The segment is anticipated to maintain its dominance during the forecast period as well. Non-woven geotextiles are used to prevent soil erosion, pound underlayment and separation fabrics, as they act as an excellent filtrate, and are resistant to heat. Region-wise, west region is the largest demand generating region for geotextiles in the country.

 

 

 

Challenges

 

In view of large potential for cost savings, environmental protection, safety, economic and social importance, use of geo-synthetics in India’s infrastructural development in India to facilitate environmental protection by their use, it is essential that geosynthetics use is made mandatory just like mandatory regulation of fly ash or iodized salt, especially in the following areas: All highways, expressways and coastal roads, reinforcement with geosynthetics must be mandatory when the CBR ratio is ≤ 3.5. In rural road construction as these are repaired / reconstructed after a prolonged period. All coastal roads embankments which are on soft soil foundation, use of geosynthetics must be mandatory. The BOT system needs be modified to DBOT to give emphasis on initial design of the project for using latest technologies like geosynthetics.

 

Major challenges in the Indian market include: Lack of desired legislation; Lack of required Standards on geosynthetic products as well as on design, construction and installation guidelines; Lack of policy/regulatory initiatives by the Central and State governments; Lack of awareness of standards and guidelines by the site engineers/field staff; Lack of national certifying and accreditation agencies for geosynthetics in the country; Lack of R&D facilities; and incompleteness of existing Standards and Guidelines.

 

Lack of awareness about the benefits of using geosynthetic materials is also a major drawback for India. We strongly require recognised testing labs and will have to conduct awareness workshops. In addition, education in geosynthetics, both at academic institutes and at the industry level, is required to generate human resources. At present, the use of geosynthetics is constrained due to the lack of trained personnel.

 

Further, the lack of specified standards for promoting geosynthetics use is another major challenge. Government authorities should issue guidelines for geotextile use in infrastructure projects which must include unified codes/specifications. The formulation of standards for different geotextiles by the government and the Bureau of Indian Standards in line with international standards is an urgent requirement. The ground rules for the evaluation of geosynthetic materials used in construction needs to take into account all safety requirements. Further, state agencies should encourage the use of geosynthetic products, keeping in mind significant state-level spends on infrastructure under rural development programmes.

 

 

 

Outlook

 

The global geosynthetics market is expected to be over $12 billion by 2024, growing at a rate of 5-7 per cent. Rapid urbanisation in China, India and Brazil along with favourable government initiatives to improve infrastructure will favour the housing, transport, construction and energy industries, thereby scaling up the size of the geosynthetics industry. Increasing environmental concerns along with a shift in consumer trends towards green buildings and material is likely to positively influence industry growth. In India, the geosynthetics market is expected to continue the momentum of double-digit growth on the back of a strong infrastructure push. Growing road construction in the country is one of the major factors expected to aid the geotextiles market. The railway sector is another fast emerging application area for geotextiles, as upcoming metro rail, bullet train and high speed train projects in the country are expected to fuel the demand for geotextiles.

 

The use of geosynthetic products in several emerging economies including India is quite low as compared to that in developed countries. One of the major challenges is the lack of awareness of the benefits associated with using these materials. Therefore, there is a need to establish well-recognised testing labs and conduct awareness workshops. In addition, more education in geosynthetics, both at academic institutes and the industry level, is required to improve human resources. Further, state agencies should encourage the use of geosynthetic products, in light of state-level spends on infrastructure under rural development programmes. The government has underlined the need to streamline the process of standardisation for faster development of the standards in the geosynthetics space.

 




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