Towards Circular Economy with Stone Wool Technology

Vinay Pratap Singh
Business Unit Director
Roxul Rockwool Technical Insulation India Private Limited
In an exclusive interaction with Offshore World, Vinay Pratap Singh, Business Unit Director, Roxul Rockwool Technical Insulation India Private Limited says, "Due to the design of our stone wool production, it's possible to use materials and recycle stone wool that might otherwise be landfilled or down cycled."

Kindly share the company's approach to sustainability through its 'Stone Wool Technology' and application in the oil & gas industry

Across the full range of our products and operations, Rockwool is dedicated to enriching modern living. We strive to increase our positive impact on people and society by maximising our positive product impact and minimising our operational footprint. This is ver y much in-line with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whether it's to reduce energy consumption, create healthier indoor environments or enable efficient food production, our stone wool plays a central role in creating a sustainable future.

In a circular economy, products should be used for as long as possible - and reused to the greatest extent possible when they reach the end of their ser vice life. In Rockwool, we use a natural material, volcanic rock, to give back to nature. Thanks to the unique durability and resilience of our stone wool products, their thermal proper ties and dimensional stability do not deteriorate during their lifetime. Due to the design of our stone wool production, it's possible to use materials and recycle stone wool that might other wise be landfilled or downcycled.

Insulation ser ves an important role in the oil & gas industry. As temperature control is crucial for oil and gas applications, the pipes, appliances, boilers and vessels in oil & gas plants need to be insulated properly to maintain its process temperatures from being affected by external conditions. Rockwool, with its smart stone wool fibre structure and overall flexibility, offers the highest possible protection against heat and energy loss, fire, noise and other unwanted influences. In fact, our stone wool technical insulation sold in 2018 can save energy in its lifetime equal to 57 percent of the total annual energy use in the U.S. industrial sector.

What are the key products that are most in demand and the new products that your organisation has been bringing to the market?

Roxul Rockwool Technical Insulation strives to set the standard in innovative solutions, the most stringent quality and safety requirements, built on our people's in-depth exper tise in the oil & gas and petrochemical industries.

In the last few years we have introduced the ProRox product range which complies with all industrial insulation standards and are considered by many to be the most cost effective, thermally efficient insulation products currently in the market. The ProRox range consists of insulation products in the form of pipe sections, wired mats and slabs. Insulating industrial plants with ProRox products reduces energy consumption and heat losses and thereby delivers significant extra savings in energy, heating costs and carbon emissions.

In many industrial plants, corrosion under insulation (CUI) is undoubtedly one of its costliest problem, requiring major maintenance or driving up operating costs that run into billions of dollars annually. Rockwool through its innovation and cutting-edge approach, introduced the award-winning WR -Tech technology to mitigate the risk of CUI. This unique WR-Tech technology gives the ProRox pipe section products 5x lower water absorption, very low water-leachable salt content, allowing the insulation to dry faster and to be more durable.

How do you intend to stay ahead of the competition & what are the future growth plan to consolidate your presence in India?

Rockwool Group has more than 80 years of history since its first inception in Denmark and is today present in 39 countries with 46 manufacturing facilities. As part of this group, Roxul Rockwool Insulation India Private Limited has grown by leaps and bounds since its establishment in 2011 and continues to build on its strong presence in India through the trusted and recognised Rockwool brand. We aspire to grow faster than the overall market by building long-term customer relations, launching innovative new solutions and offering superior ser vices while at the same time strengthening our distribution network.

Our new innovations in stone also create oppor tunities and solutions to help us address the biggest challenges facing our world today. Each of our products combines the 7 strengths of stone: fire-resilience, thermal properties, acoustic capabilities, robustness, aesthetics, water properties and circularity; to provide cost-effective and energy efficient solutions to protect the environment and a plant's investment.

Tell us about the applications of technical insulations in the oil & gas industry across up, mid & downstream to be energy efficient?

The ProRox product line was developed to meet the most stringent quality and safety standards of the oil & gas and petrochemical industries. ProRox products have been tested according to the latest regulations and approved by all major classification societies that are critical to applications in upstream, midstream and downstream processes. Supported by our outstanding knowledge in technical specifications as well as exper t tools such as Rockassist Asia and Procheck, we apply the ProRox products for a diverse temperature range to improve the energy efficiency and reduce emissions of a plant while protecting the longterm sustainability of its operations.

We also provide solutions for the marine and offshore industries through the SeaRox product line.

What is the market size of technical insulations globally and how is this domain evolving?

According to sources, the Indian insulation market is expected to witness a growth of 7 percent amidst a steady economy, infrastructure projects, favourable government policies and a promising construction and industrial sector. Insulation market is positively expected to generate an increased demand for insulation materials in process industries and construction sector, alongside the reviving economy and rapid expansion growth in India. Moreover, with the government regulations and emphasis for people safety and improved energy efficiency, we anticipate tremendous potential for insulation demand in the coming years.

Report by Markets & Markets suggests that this segment is projected to grow from USD 7.6 billion to USD 9.2 billion by 2024. Which industries will drive the growth of insulation products and how much will come from the oil & gas industry?

Based on some sources, the top three industries will be chemical, oil & gas and power. Many companies are investing and venturing into oil & gas, whereas many more projects are at the planning stage. Robust growth of petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals sectors along with infrastructure expansion is expected to generate steady growing demand for thermal insulation and fire protection products like Rockwool stone wool insulation.

How are the compliance and regulatory norms changing worldwide for this domain across applications in the oil and gas industry? What kind of challenges do these create for customers and suppliers?

In consideration of the prevalent market conditions, there appears to be a trend towards developing India into a gas-based economy. As per the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel of Indian government, India will see a massive investment of USD 118 billion in oil & gas exploration as well as in setting up of natural gas infrastructure in the nex t few years as the countr y prepares to meet the needs of a fast-growing economy. As much as USD 58 billion will be invested by 2023 in oil & gas exploration and production, while another USD 60 billion will be put into the creation of natural gas infrastructure such as pipelines and impor t terminals. All these pipeline and equipment assets will need insulation to increase their thermal per formance, which will have a positive impact on the insulation industr y. The challenge for the insulation industr y is to meet the demand brought about by this positive forecast as well as favorable government policies, and to grow in a sustainable manner while still meeting the qualit y and safet y standards that is so critical for the oil & gas industr y.