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Global carbon fiber market to see double-digit annual growth, expected to reach US$3 bln in 2018

Global carbon fiber market to see double-digit annual growth, expected to reach US$3 bln in 2018

14-Jun-13

The global carbon fiber market is forecast to experience double-digit growth annually for the next five years in terms of dollars and pounds shipment respectively. The market is expected to reach US$3 bln in 2018 from US$1.8 bln in 2013. From its user segments, the industrial market is expected to witness annual double-digit growth, while aerospace experiences high single-digit growth. The sporting goods market is likely to witness the lowest growth in 2013-2018 in terms of dollar shipment, as per Lucintel. Future growth of the global carbon fiber industry will be driven by emerging applications such as wind blades; nuclear centrifuge rotor tubes; laptop cases; mobile phones; and risers, tethers and umbilical in the oil and gas industry. In addition, civil and bridge applications; CNG tanks, fuel cells, automotive applications in high-end cars; defense aircraft; commercial aerospace applications such as B787, A380, B747-8, A350; and next-generation narrow body aircraft are leading applications for carbon fiber use. The industrial market is expected to see the highest growth among the other major sectors such as aerospace and sporting goods; and is forecast to grow at the highest rate annually over the next five years in terms of million dollars in shipments. Additionally, competition from offshore suppliers such as China and India will drive down the cost of end products.

After years of steady but unimpressive growth, the global carbon fiber industry is finally set for a boom in revenue, thanks to burgeoning demand from the wind energy market, as per a report by GBI Research. The main reason for the expected 193% increase is the expanding renewable energy market global carbon fiber demand will hit 153,700 tons in 2020, climbing from 52,500 tons in 2012 - an massive increase of 193% in just eight years. Wind energy - a vital segment of the rapidly expanding renewable energy market - will be the key driver of the carbon fiber industry. Currently, wind turbine blades constructed from Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) dominate the industry landscape, but due to their greater rigidity, lower weight and reduced cost, producers are making the move to carbon fiber alternatives. Considering this shift in manufacturing materials, combined with the increasing deployment of wind farms across the world, carbon fiber demand for the wind energy industry is forecast to jump from 12,270 tons in 2011 to 67,400 tons in 2020, making it the single largest carbon fiber end user segment by some margin. Demand from the aerospace industry is also expected demonstrate significant growth in the near future, although from a lower base figure. Thanks to the increased use of carbon fiber composites in aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, GBI Research anticipates aerospace industry demand for the material to climb at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.8% from 7,200 tons in 2012 to 19,700 tons in 2020.

Visiongain’s latest analysis indicates that the global CFRP composites market will reach a value of US$20.68 bln in 2013, and will be driven by growth in the wind energy market and strong potential in the automotives market. The CFRP composites market will exhibit growth over the next decade, and this will partly be due to the increasing prominence of the emerging markets. Stronger economic growth and clear immaturity in the CFRP markets means that growth rates are expected to be greatest in these regions. The immaturity and cheaper labour costs of the emerging markets are also expected to attract a number of multinationals from the developed markets. The use of CFRP in the composites market has shown strong growth over the past few years. Still a relatively immature market, the material has been able to penetrate a number of important sectors. Despite the economic turmoil that has transpired in recent years, the growth of CFRP has remained steady and this is partly due to the change in consumer and supplier preferences that have occurred as a result of the economic crisis. With that said, the effects of the economic crisis have still been damaging. There have been delays in both programs and funding, and this has exacerbated the clear deviation between supply and demand.’

The global carbon fiber market has grown in importance over the last few years, and carbon fibers are now used in a variety of applications industry industries as varied as aerospace, wind energy, automotive and civil engineering. Their popularity is due to the fact that they have superior characteristics to traditional materials, including enhanced stiffness, low weight, improved chemical resistance, and temperature tolerance. As per Industry Experts, global volume demand for CFRP, estimated at around 67,000 metric tons in 2012, is expected to maintain a 2012-2020 CAGR of 15.3% to reach 210,000 metric tons by 2020. In terms of value, demand for CFRP, estimated at US$10.25 bln in 2012 is expected to record a CAGR of 11.9% over 2012-2020 in reaching US$25.2 bln by 2020. In tandem with the CFRP market, global demand for carbon fibers in terms of volume, estimated at 45,000 metric tons in 2012 and forecast to be 51,700 metric tons in 2013, is further projected to reach 141,000 metric tons by 2020, registering a 2012-2020 CAGR of 15.4%. In terms of value, consumption of carbon fibers globally is estimated to stand at US$2.03 billion in 2012 and projected to reach around US$5 billion by 2020.

As per Reportsnreports, superior properties of carbon fiber such as high strength, high stiffness, low density, non-corrosiveness; electrical conductivity, and chemical inertness make it an ideal material in the plethora of applications such as aerospace, military, automotive, wind energy, sporting goods, and industrial applications. The factors leading to increased interest in the carbon fiber market include demand for more fuel efficient vehicles, structural & performance advantages, continuous emergence of novel applications, and increased demand from emerging economies. However, the market’s potential is somewhat hindered by high price of the carbon fiber, insufficient production capacity, processing difficulties, and lack of automation. In spite of this, there is a huge opportunity for existing & new carbon fiber producers. Currently, almost 90% of the carbon fiber that is used is PAN-based, whereas pitch-based carbon fiber is used only in specialty applications. The global carbon fiber market is expected to grow from US$1701.9 mln in 2010 to US$2515.4 mln by 2016 at a CAGR of 5.9%. Asia-Pacific accounted for the highest share in the carbon fiber market and is expected to reach US$938.9 mln in 2016 at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2011 to 2016. North America is the second largest market and expected to grow with CAGR of 5.9% to reach US$857 mln in 2016. The market shares of various geographies for the period are Asia-Pacific (36.2%), North America (34%), Europe (25.8%), and ROW (3.88%). In 2010, most of the carbon fiber production (47%) was used by the aerospace sector. Falling in the second place was the other industrial applications sector with a 29.5% market share. The remaining three sectors; namely sporting goods, wind energy and automotive, which utilized 11.8%, 8.8% and 2.6% respectively.

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