Increasing demand for high strength and lightweight components from various end-use industries is likely to boost carbon fiber market growth in upcoming years

Posted On Sep, 05, 2018

Increasing requirements for lightweight & high strength materials across various end-use industries, primarily automotive and aerospace, is expected to be the key driving factor forcing the market growth over the forecast period. Rising need for fuel-efficient vehicles to meet the stringent pollution control norms is expected to trigger the product demand.

The global carbon fiber market exceeded USD 2 billion in 2015 and is supposed to grow at an estimated CAGR of over 10% from 2016 to 2024. CF demand across the globe has seen extraordinary growth after world economic recession in 2009. Carbon fiber market grew from 26.5 kilotons to 46.5 kilotons from 2009 to 2013.

The high growth rate has motivated key players to expand the capacity intensely to meet the rising demand.  High prices of carbon fibers have restricted their usage to high performance applications like exotic sports cars, racing yachts, race cars, spacecraft and jet fighters. 

Growing demand for high strength and lightweight components from various end-use industries due to the change in requirements and quality of production is likely to boost the market in forecast years. Growing importance for enhanced performance along with increased fuel efficiency has propelled the demand for lightweight vehicles in the market. Carbon fibers are majorly used to reduce the body weight of the vehicle by not compromising on the strength of the structure.

The Huge demand for carbon fiber composites from aerospace industry is estimated to fuel market growth over the next eight years. Strength and weight of the material play a key role in the aerospace industry.

Increasing demand from defense and commercial sectors for fuel efficient, light weight and high performance aircraft is estimated to drive the market. Large companies such as Airbus and Boeing have integrated carbon fiber technology, which is likely to be a primary driver for market growth in aviation & aerospace sector.

Carbon fibers are expected to have a potential growth in alternate energy applications including fuel cells, compressed natural gas transportation & storage along with wind turbines. Higher demand for lightweight rotor blades from the wind turbine application has positively affected the market growth. Carbon fiber offers some serious weight reduction without compromising the strength, which helps in improved performance and efficiency of the wind turbine.

Growing construction and infrastructure industry in developing regions of Asia Pacific, Middle-East & Africa is expected to boost the market growth of carbon fibers as they are widely employed in earthquake protection and lightweight pre-cast concrete. Intense oil exploration activities across the world are likely to back market growth as carbon fibers are increasingly used in deep sea drilling drill pipes, kill lines, choke, buoyancy and platforms.

The high cost of raw material conversion followed by the conversion costs results in higher cost of carbon fibers. This high cost of product overshadows the notable benefits offered by carbon fibers and further restrains its penetration into potential end-use industries.

Carbon fibers market across the globe is finding potential opportunities in various modern applications. Increasing demand from advancing economies is expected to create new opportunities for market growth. Global carbon fiber market is segmented by application and raw material used.

By application is segmented as marine, civil, automotive, sports, wind turbines and aerospace & defense. By raw material, the market can be segmented as polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fibers, pitch-based carbon fibers. Historically, rayon was also used as a raw material for carbon fiber production. However, the invention of PAN and pitch has overshadowed rayon demand for the same.

North America is a major the market & has the highest market share. It is estimated that this region will retain its position in next eight years. Stringent rules and regulations in this area towards reducing curb weight to improve fuel efficiency has supported the market growth. Europe is projected to be the second biggest market after North America. However, Europe is expected to witness enormous growth rate over the forecast period.

Carbon fiber industry is experiencing overcapacity due to an accelerated expansion of capacity in recent years. Ten leading firms concentrate the carbon fiber market across the globe. These companies contributed to over 91% of production capacity in 2014. Diminutive growth in demand than expected has resulted in high surplus production capacity. Over 40% of excess capacity was noted towards carbon fiber production based on polyacrylonitrile in early 2014.

Key players operating in carbon fiber market across the world include Hyosung, Hexcel, Aksa, Cytec, Formosa Plastic Corp, SGL-Group, Toho, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd, Toray, and Zoltek.

The industry has witnessed various acquisitions and mergers by major firms expand their market presence. Toray has acquired Zoltek and exponentially prolonged its position as market leader. BMW and SGL invested USD 100 Million in a joint project for developing specialized high-performance materials.

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