As new production technologies lower carbon fibre cost, the global market for carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) will more than double to US$36 bln in 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 13%, according to a Lux Research report, as per reinforcedplastics.com According to the research, the CFRP market will be worth US$14.6 bln in 2012. The report predicts that polyolefin-precursor carbon fibre, combined with alternative thermal treatment mechanisms, will reduce cost from a baseline of US$21.2/kg today to US$10.5/kg at pilot-line scale in 2017. This will drive greater adoption of carbon composites across industries such as pressure vessels, marine, consumer electronics, construction, tooling, and medical. Aerospace and wind will be in the race for supremacy, while potentially high-volume automotive uses advance at a pedestrian pace. The report also includes the following finding-
As per a report by Tony Roberts, global demand for carbon fibre will grow from 46,000 tons in 2011 to 140,000 tons by 2020. The report suggests that plant capacity increases already announced by carbon fibre manufacturers will result in nameplate capacity being increased from 102,000 tons in 2011 to 129,000 tons in 2015, with the potential for further growth to 185,000 tons by 2020. The report states that the current global demand for carbon fibre by application is: aerospace 17%, industrial (including wind energy and automotive) 67%, and sports goods 16%. By 2020, the two major industrial applications - wind energy and automotive - will account for 46% of the world's total demand for carbon fibre. The wind energy market is set to increase from 10,440 tons of carbon fibre in 2011 to 54,270 tons by 2020. Carbon fibre demand (by weight) in the aerospace/defence sector is forecast to grow from 7,694 tons in 2011 to 18,462 tons by 2020. By 2020, Japan will produce 25% of the world's carbon fibre, USA 28%, Europe 28%, China 9% and the Rest of the World 10%.All of the world's major carbon fibre manufacturers are featured in the report, along with new players entering the business, with information given on plant capacities, production outputs, future expansion plans, product ranges and full financial results. The author explains that he has spent several years studying the carbon fibre industry in China, and the role that China will play in the next decade is fully assessed in the report.
As per Electronics.CA Publications, the global market for reinforced plastics is forecast to reach 7.9 mln tons by the year 2017, bolstered by renewed demand from major end-use sectors and robust demand from European and Asia Pacific markets. Further, rapidly evolving renewable energy markets such as wind energy are emerging as the most promising growth areas for reinforced plastics. Reinforced plastics are proving to be an indispensable aspect of modern day life. With applications ranging from simple household appliances to complex industrial, aerospace and defense applications, reinforced plastics are the material of choice for various applications, owing to their superior performance characteristics and design technologies, over their traditional metal counterparts. Housing a wide range of metal suppliers (e.g. Fiber and resin manufacturers, compound suppliers), fabricators, major OEMs and end-users, the global reinforced plastics industry embodies an extremely scattered and dispersed nature. The field of reinforced plastics is constantly being researched to generate innovative products in sports, recreation and medical care sectors. Renewable energy markets such as wind energy are emerging as the most promising markets for reinforced plastics. Within the reinforced plastics market, glass, carbon and natural reinforcing fibers constantly compete with each other. Due to the high performance attributes, carbon fiber plastics (CFRP) are substituting glass reinforced plastic (GRP), despite carbon fibers being priced higher. At the same time natural fibers plastics such as wood plastic composites (WPC) are expanding into newer applications such as automobile interiors and consumer goods. WPCs enjoy a significant presence in the North American market, while the European WPC market is still in the initial stage of development. The glass-fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) market is expected to gain the pre-recession production level in the near future. Although the CFRP market remained sluggish in the post-recession phase, the market is expected to gather pace in the near term and witness substantial expansion, with the European market constituting a major chunk of the global demand. CFRP production fell dramatically during the recession period 2008-09 due to the decline in the aviation industry that besieged major players including Boeing and Airbus. The sports and recreation end-use segment is forecast to exhibit steady growth in the near term, driven by demand from China. Demand from the industrial sector has outgrown that in the other major segments, and is forecast to continue to expand rapidly in the near term as the scope of application grows. Carbon composite companies are expected to register short-term growth due to an increase in demand from the applications related to wind turbines, aerospace and CNG tanks especially in advanced economies such as Germany. Rising consciousness about depleting fossil fuel resources and mounting environmental concerns are driving the demand for wind turbines, which in turn is significantly fueling reinforced plastics demand. The ongoing European renewable energy initiatives are expected to favor the wind turbines market, which signals a bright future for composites/reinforced plastics market. Strongest gains in the wind energy market are anticipated in Germany, Spain, Italy and Denmark. North America seems to be on an environment conservation drive, with the regulatory bodies insisting upon alternate energy sources such as wind power, mainly to combat hazardous emissions from conventional fossil fuels such as oil and coal. The composite industry has a reason to rejoice with market opportunities pouring in due to a burgeoning wind turbine market. Efforts are on cards to equip the wind turbines with innovative components featuring composite materials, which are mainly aimed at enhancing performance and efficiency. Europe dominates the global market in terms of sheer market size, as stated by the new market research report on Reinforced Plastics. France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK account for the maximum share of GFRP production volume in the region. The production volumes of GFRPs in Europe rose substantially in the recent term, resurging from the recessionary lows, as reflected in the increased uptake of feedstock including resins and glass fibers. In the Asian reinforced plastics market, China holds a pivotal place, and is powered by rapidly increasing demand from major sectors such as construction, automobiles, electrical, and electronics. The Asia-Pacific market is forecast to outpace other global markets at a steady growth rate of over 4% through 2017. Worldwide, reinforced plastics are gaining increasing patronage from the turbo-charged construction industry which constitutes a major chunk of the overall market. Designed to render long-lasting, load-bearing structural performance, reinforced plastics are proving to be the ideal choice in complex structures such as bridges, bridge components and structural framing systems. The transportation sector is one of the largest end-use markets for reinforced plastics. A potential alternative to steel in the manufacture of body panels and structural components, reinforced plastic is the material of choice for cars, truck cabs, buses and tractor-trailers among others. Within the industry, the growing market for electric powered vehicles is expected to drive the demand for CFRP components.
Lucintel's report forecasts that the composite products market will reach US$79 bln in 2016. For the composites industry, 2008 and 2009 were difficult years. Demand for composite materials dropped significantly in 2008 and 2009 but regained its foothold in 2010 with 10.3% growth. The construction, automotive, marine and E & E segments clearly had positive global impact in 2010. At the end of 2010, the market for composite products reached an estimated US$50 bln and is expected to reach US$78 bln in 2016. Worst performing markets in 2010 were pipe and tank, and wind energy; however: wind energy is expected to rebound, and along with marine and aerospace, is expected to see double digits growth in 2011. As per the study, future markets are expected to be more fragmented due to growth in emerging economies. Population growth, new infrastructural projects, urbanization, increase in middle class population, and the green movement will drive composites growth to new horizons in the future. New competitors are expected to surface as a result of this anticipated regional growth. Lucintel expects rapid growth of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastics) as compared to GFRP (glass fiber reinforced plastics) products in future. In last 15 years, the market for GFRP grew by about 30%, while the market for carbon fiber composite products grew by about 250%. A similar trend is expected in the coming years, with CFRP product growth outpacing GFRP.