Carbon Fiber Market size is forecast to reach $11.2 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 11.5% during 2021-2026. Carbon fiber is a high strength, low weight, high stiffness, conductive to electricity, and is one of the most corrosion and heat resistant material. Growing demand for lightweight products from aerospace & defense, automotive, and wind energy industries and minimizing carbon emissions are driving the market growth. Whereas, the growing building and construction sector in the emerging country is also driving the market growth. As carbon fiber is used primarily in the strengthening and reinforcement of concrete, steel, timber, and masonry. Furthermore, increasing demand for carbon fiber composite in consumer electronics has made the products lighter and thinner, and more textured is likely to drive the market growth.
Carbon Fiber Market Segment Analysis – By Raw Material
Polyacrylonitrile Based (PAN) segment held the largest share of more than 65% in the carbon fiber market in 2020. The PAN based component offers various benefits like low density, high strength, high modulus, high-temperature resistance, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, creepage resistance, electric conduction, heat conduction, and far-infrared radiation. These properties of PAN make it suitable to use across various end-use industries like the aerospace & aviation industry, automotive industry, wind turbines, anti-flame materials & clothes, and sports equipment. Thus, growth in these end-use industries further drive the market growth.
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Carbon Fiber Market Segment Analysis – By Tow
Continuous tow segment held the largest share of more than 60% in the carbon fiber market in 2020. Continuous tow is the most widely used tow, due to its weight, compatibility with resins, and various range of sizing available for optimal processing. These are heavy tows with 50,000 filaments, each of these tows have heavy mechanical properties, which can be transferred to the finished products and components to enhance their properties such as strength, durability and structural properties. Furthermore, Continuous tows provide cost advantage, especially when used in a high-volume process, increases the reliability of the end product, enhance production efficiency and can be merged with all thermoset and thermoplastic resin systems. Continuous tow also makes carbon fiber far superior to glass and aramid fibers because of their added strength & stiffness and are used in manufacturing wind turbines, industrial, and automotive manufacturing. Therefore, these properties & advantages of continuous tow will further drive its demand in the market.
Carbon Fiber Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Composite segment held the largest share of more than 55% in 2020 and is forecasted to be the most utilized application of carbon fiber. The high strength, high thermal & electrical conductivity, light weight, and high modulus properties of composite makes them suitable to use across aerospace & defense, automotive, sports, and wind turbine industry, which are ideal for its growth. According to a 2019 report released by Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), in 2018 American aerospace & defense industry export amounted for $151 billion, out of which $131.5 billion were from civil aviation and the total revenue in 2018 was $929 billion, which was an increase from $865 billion in 2017 with a growth of 4.17%. The other industry driving the markets growth is automobile industry. For instance, a report released by Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) in 2020, Indian automotive industry is expected to reach $282.8 billion by 2026, which will drive the markets growth in the region. Furthermore, the growing demand for BMW i3 is also driving the market growth. As the BMW i3 is still the only car with a significant amount of carbon composite content.
Carbon Fiber Market Segment Analysis – By End User
Aerospace and Defense segment held the largest share of more than 25% in the carbon fiber market in 2020. Airbus A350 XWB, JSF, F18 E/F, A380, Eurofighter Typhoon, Global Express, Airbus A400M, V22 Osprey, Boeing 787, and GEnx Engines are some of the end products where these composites are used and are ideal for the growth of the market. The use of carbon fiber in manufacturing narrow-body aircraft is also witnessing growth and creating a demand for the market. According to Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) report, the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) market in India is estimated to reach $70 billion by 2030, which will further create the demand for carbon fiber in the region.
Carbon Fiber Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Among the regions, Europe held the largest share of more than 40% in the carbon fiber market in 2020. With countries such as UK, France, and Germany are driving the market growth. The presence of major aircraft, defense, and electric vehicles manufacturers in the region like Airbus, Safran, Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and others are likely to boost the demand for the market. Whereas, the stringent environment norms and growing demand for electric vehicles is also contributing to the carbon fiber market growth in the region. As per International Council on Clean Transportation report in 2020, there were 1.8 million units of EV in Europe, out of which 564,000 units registered in 2019. With Germany & Norway having the largest share in the market. Furthermore, the growing wind energy sector across the regions also fuel the market growth.
Carbon Fiber Market Drivers
Increasing use of carbon fiber in Sports & Fitness Industry
With Carbon Fibers high-strength and light-weight characteristics, they are being widely used in the manufacturing sports equipment. Sports equipment such as tennis racquets, oars, pickleball paddles, archery, hockey sticks, fishing rods, baseball bats, and bicycles are made of carbon fiber. Carbon Fibers provide design flexibility, when designing a highly-specific applications. The exact shape of equipment is very critical for its performance and can easily be achieved by using carbon fiber composites. Carbon fiber helps to enhance the performance of bikers and golfers. The most specific use of carbon fiber in sporting equipment can be seen in the tennis racket. Therefore, the above factors are driving the demand for the carbon fiber market in various sporting equipment. According to International Health, Racquet & Sports club Association (IHRSA) report released in 2019, the global fitness industry total revenue was $94 billion in 2018, which will further rise in coming years, and in return will drive the demand for carbon fiber in the forecasted period.
Increase in demand from Clean Energy Sector
One of the major factors that driving the Carbon Fiber Market is the wind energy sector. With the depletion of fossil fuels, the world is now acknowledging the synthesis of energy from renewable resources. Carbon fiber is widely used in manufacturing turbine blades, which makes blades slender resulting in higher aerodynamic efficiency, lighter, longer, stiffer, and overall, more efficient wind turbine providing lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). The advancements in the wind energy sector will lead to the increasing use of carbon fiber. With the world government focusing on environmental issues, an increase in investment in wind energy is favorable for the growth of the market. For instance, according to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the global onshore wind power capacity was 594.2 GW in 2019, which was an increase from 539.5 in 2018, and is expected to reach 1,787 GW by 2030, such significant growth in wind energy will propel the demand for carbon fiber market in the forecasted period.
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Carbon Fiber Market Challenges
High Cost & Availability of Substitutes
The high cost of carbon fiber is a major concern associated with the market growth. These composites are not used in wide applications due to its high cost and developing low-cost technologies is the main challenge for the manufacturer. In the automotive industry, carbon fiber composites are only used in high-end and luxury cars. Moreover, substitute composites of carbon fibers such as glass fiber, aluminum, copper, basalt fiber, and natural fiber pose a serious challenge to the growth of the market. As these substitutes have similar end-use applications and are durable & cost effective.
Emergence of COVID 19
COVID-19 has disrupted many businesses, markets, and the overall supply chain and continues to impact on people, communities, and global economies. The pandemic has severely hindered the growth of carbon fiber market, as the automotive, and aviation industry are facing slow growth due to travel restriction, slowing demand for spare parts as maintenance in reduced, passengers stop traveling, customers postponing delivery of new aircraft and no discretionary spending by consumers. Moreover, in the long run the aircraft manufacturer will face a cash crunch this will further decrease the demand for carbon fiber.
Carbon Fiber Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Carbon fiber market report. Major players in the Carbon Fiber Market are Hexcel Corp., Formosa Plastics Corp., TEIJIN Aramid B.V., Hyosung Advanced Materials, ESE Carbon Co., Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., MakerBot Industries LLC, SGL Carbon SE, Solvay S.A, Hengshen Co., Ltd., and DowAksa Advanced Composites Holding B.V., among others.
In August 2020, Hexcel Corp. announced the launch of HexPEKK material, an electrically conductive, high-performance, PEKK-based thermoplastic carbon fiber composite, which is ideal for 3D-priting components for commercial aerospace, and Defense. This new launch will further expand Hexcel offering, and will drive the carbon fiber markets growth.
In May 2020, MakerBot Industries LLC, launched a new METHOD Carbon Fiber Editions, which are designed to enable engineers to print stronger and more accurate parts for manufacturing tools, jigs and fixtures, and end-use production, which will further drive the markets growth.
Europe will continue to have the major share of total worldwide wind energy carbon fiber demand during the forecast period owing to its renewable energy targets and use of offshore wind capacity.
High price of carbon fiber is one of the factors that’s hindering the markets growth.
COVID-19 will hinder the markets growth, as the end use industry are facing a slow growth, hence reducing the demand for carbon fiber.
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