Why do Silicones Matter? 

According to Sindija Armanovica, it’s because “Silicones bring unique performances and properties that make them the material of choice for countless essential applications in our day-to-day lives: from batteries in our mobile phones, to external coatings for electronic products”. That is what she explained at the Silicone Expo Europe in Amsterdam on 28 February 2024. 

Silicones have unique performance properties  

Multiple industries opt for silicones due to the combination of properties they offer. When zooming in on the construction sector, what makes silicones interesting is their long-lasting performance, their versatility, and their ability to withstand multiple weather conditions. Window sealants are a good example where all these characteristics come to play.  

Not only do silicones have unique properties that make them interesting for many applications, they also contribute to EU policy ambitions around climate, digitalisation, circular economy and industrial competitiveness. 

Silicones offer climate benefits 

A 2022 study we commissioned to Denkstatt on ‘Silicones’ role in supporting the EU Green Deal’s decarbonization goals’ revealed an annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-saving potential of 96,4 Mt in 2030 for silicone-using technologies, compared to their non-silicone alternatives. This is equivalent to the carbon footprint of electricity consumption of 36 million persons. That is almost as much as the inhabitants of Poland.   

Silicones also have an important role to play in generating renewable energy, given that they are part and parcel of both solar cells and wind turbines. 

Silicones have revolutionised the digital and ICT sectors 

Silicones enable high-performing and reliable electronic devices. They can be isolating as well as conductive and can help thermal distribution. They are highly resistant to temperature, moisture, solvents and wear. There are many examples, but some would be microprocessor bonds, semiconductors, cable conductors or even protection of components from environmental contaminants.   

Silicones contribute to circularity 

Silicones make products more durable, prolonging their lifetime. Given that they reduce the need for repairs and replacement, they minimise waste, consumption and production needs. For instance, the application of silicone sealants and adhesives in construction can enhance the long-term resistance to degradation of buildings, delay the need for maintenance, and can protect and extend a building’s lifetime. 

Silicone technology lies at the core of many EU strategic value chains 

Silicones are unrivaled in many technologies, from batteries and autonomous vehicles to ICT, satellites and even healthcare innovation. Examples of the latter are, artificial hearts and electronic prostheses. 

We keep on learning 

To gain a deeper understanding of the properties of silicones, we continue to invest in studies. Sindija explained “We believe in the power of science and economic data. That is why we have commissioned a joint study in the Antarctic to gain a deeper understanding of the properties of silicones.” 

Silicones Europe and the Global Silicones Council, both representing the silicone industry on the European and global levels, are working with an independent scientific panel – with the support of several EU Member State and third country authorities – to conduct a comprehensive field study in the Antarctic to gather robust scientific evidence around the properties of silicones. Results are expected in Q1 2025.