Needle Coke Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Needle Coke Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Grade (Super-Premium, Premium, Intermediate), By Application (Electrode, Silicon Metals, Carbon Black), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025

  • Published Date: Aug, 2019
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2018
  • Report ID: GVR-3-68038-492-5
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2014 - 2017
  • Number of Pages: 118

Industry Insights

The global needle coke market size was estimated at USD 3.4 billion in 2018, accelerating at a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period. Rapidly growing electric vehicles have led to a rise in the demand for needle coke. A shift in consumer preference toward electric cars is creating immense opportunities for manufacturers to find application scope of lithium-ion batteries in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) and Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) industries.

The HEV industry has witnessed rapid growth in recent years owing to favorable policies by the government, volatile gas prices, and rising awareness among consumers to reduce carbon emissions. These factors have significantly boosted the demand for needle coke in the market over the past few years.

U.S. Needle Coke Market

The penetration of electric vehicles was limited; however, the trend of adopting hybrid-electric car is likely to gain importance over the next decade owing to the implementation of several measures to reduce carbon and other emissions. This switch in preference toward hybrid electric cars is likely to be a significant factor that is projected to drive the market for needle coke.

Needle coke is the primary raw material used for the manufacturing of graphite electrodes from arc furnace in the steel and aluminum industries. It is a special type of coke that exhibits superior properties such as structural characteristics, high-temperature resistance, high electrical resistance, oxidizability, and Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE). Needle coke accounts for over 40% of raw material costs in the production of graphite electrodes.

Steel production through electric arc furnace method has significantly increased in developed nations across Europe and the Americas owing to high availability of scrap. Electric arc furnace method accounts for over 60% steel production in India, while in the Middle East, over 90% of steel is produced through an electric furnace. These factors have created sufficient demand for needle coke in these furnaces in the market.

Market players are investing in R&D activities to develop needle coke from low value heavier hydrocarbon streams without any significant feed pre-treatment process. Needle coke developed from low value heavier hydrocarbon streams can withstand high temperature of up to 2800°C.

Moreover, market players are improving their refinery margins owing to high product prices. Completely integrated market players such as Phillips 66, Sumitomo Chemical Company, and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. have gained a competitive advantage with the help of captive raw material supply, especially during price fluctuations.

The EAF process uses recycled steel scrap constituting of about 90% to 100% of the raw material and it is passed through high power electric arcs for primary steel production to melt the metal (under temperature 1650°C) and convert it to high-quality steel. Electric arc furnaces are pollution-free and have efficient metallurgical control. The aforementioned factors are propelling the consumption of needle coke for the EAF process in the market.

Product Insights

Super-premium grade segment dominated the market with over 46.0% of the volume share in 2018. This grade is widely preferred in various steel as well as carbon applications owing to the low sulfur content (less than 0.4%) and exceptional inherent properties.

Super-premium grade exhibits low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), low puffing rate, and large particle size, which enables 5% higher productivity in steel recycling operations. These are also considered as the finest grades used for the manufacturing of higher quality ultra-high power (UHP) graphite electrodes.

Premium grade requires slightly longer processing cycles and reduces the available capacity to a certain extent. This grade has witnessed a rapid rise in prices in the past few years owing to rapidly increasing demand across Asia Pacific market. Needle coke is used in various graphite-related products, such as specialty graphite blocks, partially processed graphite, and granular graphite.

Application Insights

Needle coke is widely utilized as an electrode in ferroalloy furnaces and silicon metals in the market. These cokes are usually required in graphite electrodes, which are used in submerged arc furnaces of high capacities. The production of needle coke for its application in silicon metals and ferroalloys is likely to witness a rapid growth rate over the forecast period owing to a decline in crude oil prices.

The consumption of needle coke in Li-ion batteries is expected to witness significant growth rate owing to consumer preference for natural graphite electrode over synthetic product in Li-ion batteries. Increasing demand for smartphones and various wearable devices in the needle coke market is one of the prominent factors propelling the demand for Li-ion batteries.

Global needle coke market

Needle coke is used as a processing aid in rubber compounding applications to improve its friction characteristics. Petroleum coke is utilized to improve wear & tear properties in polymer applications. Manufacturers add approximately 5% to 20% of CPC in rubber compounds to increase wear resistance properties without the use of abrasives.

Regional Insights

Recovery in the North American economy and the growth of several significant end-use industries are expected to remain macro-driving factors for steel production in the market. The advent of novel technologies such as electric-arc furnace (EAF) is a crucial factor triggering the growth of mini-mills, which currently accounts for 60% of the domestic production in the U.S. In 2018, Philips 66 was the leading producer and exporter of this product with an annual production capacity of around 370 kilotons.

Asia Pacific emerged as the leading regional market and accounted for more than 60% of the overall volume in 2018. In India, government initiatives to support domestic manufacturing are likely to reduce reliance on imports and boost regional production levels, which is expected to present lucrative opportunities for industrial manufacturers and even for graphite producers. Graphite India Limited and HEG Limited are the major consumers of pitch needle coke in the Indian market.

Needle Coke Market Share Insights

The global needle coke market is highly fragmented with the presence of large-scale manufacturers. Market players are investing in R&D activities to develop needle coke from low value heavier hydrocarbon streams without any major feed pre-treatment process.

In 2018, the prices of needle coke significantly increased owing to surging demand from steel industry and the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries in automotive industry. In addition, due to stringent environmental regulations on carbon emissions, several petroleum coke production facilities across China have shut down, which has negatively affected the prices of needle coke. Phillips 66; Asbury Carbon Inc.; Seadrift Coke L.P.; Sumitomo Chemical Company; Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.; JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp.; and Indian Oil Corporation Limited are some of the key industry participants in the market.

Report Scope

Attribute

Details

Base year for estimation

2018

Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 - 2017

Forecast period

2019 - 2025

Market representation

Volume in Kilotons, Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2019 to 2025

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa

Report coverage        

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

Country Scope

U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., Italy, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Mexico

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at a regional & country level and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global needle coke market report on the basis of grade, application, and region: 

  • Grade Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Super-premium

    • Premium-grade

    • Intermediate-grade

  • Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Electrode

    • Silicon metals & ferroalloys

    • Carbon black

    • Rubber compounds

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • North America

      • U.S

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

      • Italy

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

    • Middle East & Africa

Key questions answered by the report
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