Carbon fibre market forecast to grow to 132,000 tonnes by 2021, says new Smithers Apex report

The carbon fibre market is forecast to grow from 77,670 tonnes in 2016 to around 132,000 tonnes in 2021, driven largely by a the aerospace and defence, sports and leisure and industrial segments, according to a new Smithers Apex report.

The Future of Carbon Fiber to 2021 states the key driver behind the carbon fibre market is the potential weight savings and performance of carbon fibre. The market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12% in 2016-21.

The aerospace, sports and wind energy applications dominate consumption of carbon fibre and carbon fibre reinforced plastics. The strongest growth rates over the past five years have been experienced by pressure vessels, wind industry and moulding compound sectors. Over the forecast period wind energy and pressure vessels are expected to demonstrate the strongest growth.

Carbon fibre is a highly complex industry that produces a wide range of products. In addition to the tow counts, the products have varied properties, and a wide range of resin formulations and combinations are made in the prepreg sector. The consumption of carbon fibre is fragmented across multiple end use applications. It is driven by a combination of drivers: for simplicity these are broken down into aerospace and defence, sports and leisure goods, and industrial applications. The key driver behind all markets is the potential weight savings of using carbon fibres, followed by its performance.

Mathew Hartley report author

The key technology developments that provide the edge to producers include higher throughput processes and textile PAN precursor use. Typically the PAN precursor is a high purity feedstock, made for purpose and priced at a premium to textile grade. The other development that could enable the adoption of carbon fibre reinforced plastics into mass-produced automobiles is technology that allows injection of thermoplastics into part-formed carbon fibre reinforced parts such as organopanels. Thus use of carbon fibre can be synchronised with the automated, high-throughput processes used in the automotive sector, as opposed to causing bottlenecks.

The Future of Carbon Fiber to 2021 is based on Smithers Apex's comprehensive primary market research providing revenue estimates for the major global markets. Research based on secondary sources such as technical reviews and close industry observation corroborates and augments the findings.

Smithers Apex's industry expertise provides an assessment of the industry in terms of manufacturing process technology, raw material and supply chain factors, application innovation, regulatory impacts and cultural influences on geographic market differences. The research methodology provides reliable, detailed market data, trends and projections to 2021 for the global carbon fibre market.

The Future of Carbon Fiber to 2021 is available for £4,200.

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Smithers Apex provides events, market research, publications, strategic and technical consulting to niche, emerging and high growth industries. Markets covered include lighting and displays, clean energy, home and personal care, industrial biotechnology, performance materials and chemicals.