The synthetic graphite market is expected to register a CAGR of around 4% (in terms of voulme) during the forecast period. Major factors driving the market studied are increasing demand for electric vehicles and high purity levels of synthetic graphite. High costs compared to natural graphite and stringent environmental regulations are expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Metallurgy dominated the application segment of the market, and it is expected to continue it's dominance during the forecast period as well. Synthetic graphite electrodes are employed in metallurgical applications as a source of energy for the processes, including melting scrap iron in an electric furnace, refining of ceramic materials, manufacturing chemicals, such as calcium carbide, and other applications that require high temperature and clean energy source.
- Growing popularity of graphene is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe, with the largest consumption seen in countries, such as China, Japan, and India.
Key Market Trends
Demand from Batteries Applications at a Lucrative Rate
- Synthetic graphite is used as the anode component in lithium-ion batteries. Although lithium is the best-known component of lithium-ion batteries, there is far more graphite than lithium in a battery. Battery anodes require coated spherical graphite at over 99.9% purity.
- Battery is one of the few applications, where natural and synthetic graphite compete with each other. The battery manufacturers are shifting their focus toward natural graphite over synthetic graphite, in order to bring down the production costs.
- The features of graphite, such as high surface area and layered crystal structure, make it suitable for use as an anode material into which the lithium ions are intercalated. Certain battery technologies require graphite to be almost 100% pure.
- The growth in the sales of electronics and electric cars is expected to drive the sales of lithium-ion batteries, which, in turn, is expected to drive the consumption of synthetic graphite in the coming years.
China to Dominate the Market in the Asia-Pacific Region
- China continues to dominate synthetic graphite production and demand globally. 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 synthetic graphite.
- China accounts for more than 45% of global graphite demand in lithium-ion batteries but is forecasted to reach more than 50% during forecast period.
- China’s battery manufacturers led by CATL and BYD, supported by the government’s industrial expansion vision, are coming up with massive battery production plants. China is the premier destination to produce lithium-ion batteries effectively and cheaply, moving ahead of East Asian rivals Japan and South Korea.
- As of December 2019, the number of Li-ion battery megafactoriesin China that are in pipeline to 2029 stood at 88 and planned Li-ion battery capacity is 564GWh by 2028. The coronavirus outbreak is expected to cost Chinese battery manufacturers with around 26GWh of output in 2020.
- Synthetic graphite major application include electrodes in steel making industry. China holds the largest share in terms of consumption and production capacity of graphite electrodes in the global scenario. At present, there are more than 40 official graphite electrode producers in China in which 30 more new entrants to the market in the past two years which make other refractory products as well as electrodes.
- The government of China is also focusing on developing eco-friendly means of producing steel and it has lately announced its target to produce 20% of the country’s steel through electric arc furnace, by 2020. This marks a growth of the electric arc furnace capacity by three times, as compared to that of 2017.
- The growing production of motor vehicles, along with the expanding residential construction industry, is expected to support the domestic demand for non-ferrous alloys and iron and steel, which will be a positive factor for the growth of the synthetic graphite demand in the coming years.
The global market for synthetic graphite is a partially consolidated one, as the top five players in the market control nearly ~65% of the market share. The top players in the global synthetic graphite market are Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd, Showa Denko K. K. (including SGL Carbon), BTR New Energy Materials Inc,, GrafTech International., and Lianyungang Jinli Carbon Co. Ltd, among others.
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