Borosilicate glass is heavily used in the pharmaceutical industry for heat- and chemical-resistant containers. Manufacturers like Cambridge Glassblowing produce laboratory equipment made of this material and supply it to laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.
So much so, it was one of the major bottlenecks in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The glass industry wasn’t ready for this sudden demand for millions of glass ampoules in which the vaccine would be stored and transported.
However, the pharmaceutical industry is not the only one that relies heavily on glassware; solar power generation is another one.
And, as the use of sustainable power sources increases, so will the demand for heat-resistant glass.
As a result, the global borosilicate glass market is expected to grow exponentially from 2022 to 2032, according to a report from Future Market Insights.
What Is Borosilicate Glass?
Regular glass is made of silicon dioxide, along with soda ash and limestone. It cannot withstand sudden changes in temperature. As such, it will crack or break if heated or cooled too quickly.
Borosilicate glass, on the other hand, contains around 15% boric trioxide, which changes its structure in a manner that makes it resistant to thermic shock—in other words, it can be heated without it breaking.
Additionally, it is also non-toxic and non-reactive.
These properties make it ideal for use in cookware and the pharmaceutical industry, to name a few.
The Rapid Growth of the Borosilicate Industry
Whilst the non-reactivity and non-toxicity make borosilicate glass quite useful in laboratories and kitchens, it is its strength and heat resistance that make it ideal for the solar power industry.
Because of that, the industry, which was worth $2.03 billion in 2022, is expected to grow to $4 billion in 2032, with an estimated CAGR of 7% in these ten years.
Borosilicate Glass in Solar Power Generation
Solar panels, which are used to capture sunlight, are made of borosilicate glass. This is because, in addition to being heat resistant, it is also clearer than other glass types. That clarity allows it to let in more sunlight for more energy generation.
Borosilicate glass is also much lower in alkali elements than regular glass. Alkalis can seep from the glass into the solar cells—thereby damaging them.
Finally, this glass also protects solar cells from weather damage. Solar panels are invariably placed in a spot where they are not covered, allowing access to maximum sunlight.
That means they are also exposed to rain, hail, and snow. Regular glass would not be able to withstand these conditions for very long, resulting in damaged solar cells.
Additionally, borosilicate glass is also used in solar water heaters, providing a strong, insulated environment.
Reasons for the Rise of Borosilicate Glass
The biggest factor driving this massive surge is the rise of environmental regulations. As countries realise the need for clean energy, they are pushing towards solar power, which is fairly abundantly available in most parts of the world.
As nations make the decision to transition to cleaner energy sources, they create supportive government policies, which is another driving factor behind the growth of the solar energy industry.
India, for example, has initiated the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and pledged to install 175 GW of renewable energy, of which 100 GW was going to be solar, by 2022.
With developing countries investing in solar farms, the market for borosilicate glass is obviously expected to flourish.
Parul Mathur has been writing since 2009. That’s when she discovered her love for SEO and how it works. She developed an interest in learning HTML and CSS a couple of years later, and React in 2020. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, walking her dog, messing up her garden, or doodling.