The market for special graphite is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 11% during the forecast period. Major factors driving the market studied are increasing government policies for solar energy and increasing demand from the burgeoning lithium-ion battery industry. Tightened supplies of graphite electrodes by China, and development of lithium titanium oxide as an anode in lithium-ion batteries in high-end applications are expected to majorly hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Specialty graphites are imperative in the silicon-based PV value chain. Specialty graphite is instrumental in providing the required high purity and precision, for the applications that operate at very high temperatures, and in an extremely corrosive environment. The capacity of specialty graphite applied to electric semi-conductive and solar energy has increased from 25,000 metric ton to 50,000 metric ton, over the last five years, thereby augmenting the growth of the market.
- The scale and speed of developments in China in the graphite electrode industry may continue to affect the global market, and are expected to have a deep impact throughout the forecast period.
- Imerys Graphite and Carbon acquired Nippon Power Graphite of Japan, a move that expands its business into lithium-ion battery anode material manufacture and gives it ownership of NPG's patented chemical vapor deposition (CVD) coating process.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand from the Electronics Industry
- Special graphite is majorly used in the electronics industry. The applications of special graphite products in the electronics industry include the manufacturing of silicon semiconductor, compound semi-conductor, LED chips, lithium-ion batteries, LCD panels, hard disk, etc.
- The special graphite components, such as heaters, crucibles, reflectors, and heat shields, are also used for crystal growing units. The high-temperature zone of the furnace consists of heat-resistant graphite components.
- Special graphite is mostly used in the semiconductor and LED industries, for the production of polysilicon. The products made from special graphite include cleaned electrodes for polysilicon separation, heat shields, thermal insulation components, and gas ducts for converters.
- The finished semiconductor product is manufactured after silicon epitaxy process, in which wafers are passed on graphite susceptors. These susceptors are generally made from high-strength isostatic graphite.
- All the aforementioned factors are expected to drive the global market, during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market with a share of more than 45% and is expected to witness a fastest CAGR during the forecast period.
- China continues to dominate special graphite production and demand. Almost all stages of the lithium-ion battery manufacturing chain are focused on China, and China is by far the largest and most rapidly growing market for lithium-ion batteries, which paves the way for the market growth of special graphite.
- Special graphite has also found application in the steelmaking industry. China holds the largest share in terms of consumption and production capacity of graphite electrodes in the global scenario.
- Additionally, South Korea is the fourth-largest exporter of steel in the world. The country's top exporting countries are China, Japan, and the United States. POSCO and Hyundai Steel Co. are the largest steel manufacturers in the country.
- The production of crude steel has also witnessed an increasing trend in recent years, in turn, increasing the consumption of special graphite molds in the country.
- Such growing demand in various countries is in turn boosting the demand for special graphite in the region.
The special graphite market is fragmented, with a presence of the major players who specialize in the manufacture of specific graphite product types for distinct end-user industries. Key players in the special graphite market include SGL Group, Fangda Carbon New Material Co. Ltd, Nippon Carbon Co. Ltd, Tokai Carbon Co. Ltd, Mersen SA, Yichang Xincheng Graphite Co. Ltd, and Toyo Tanso Co. Ltd, among others.
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