NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
• The global market for graphite reached $12.5 billion in 2016 and should reach $18.2 billion in 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2016 through 2021.
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• The refractory and metallurgical segment reached $17.2 billion in 2016 and should reach $9.4 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2016 through 2021.
• The electrical application segment reached $661 billion in 2016 and should reach nearly $2.0 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 24.7% from 2016 through 2021.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Study Goals and Objectives
Graphite is a material with unique properties and performance characteristics. The application markets of graphite have been undergoing fundamental changes in the current decade. This report attempts to provide an overview of the material properties of graphite, its application markets and the fundamental changes happening in this market.
The global graphite market is estimated to have been $11.9 billion in 2015, growing to $12.5 billion in 2016, and is projected to be $18.2 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2016 through 2021. Graphite occurs naturally in numerous locations and in three major forms: flakes, amorphous form, and crystalline form, more commonly known as vein graphite. Graphite can also be made synthetically, and the synthetic graphite is widely used in numerous industries such as steel making, refractories and electronics. In this report, both the natural and synthetic graphite markets are reviewed, as are the global resources available and the processes involved in mining and purifying, or concentrating, the natural graphite.
Each of the three types of natural graphite has its own unique properties and hence applications; and these are discussed in detail with statistics wherever available. The natural and synthetic markets overlap as several applications can use either type of material. The Acheson process of manufacturing synthetic graphite is reviewed. The benefit of this approach is that large parts can be made synthetically and then machined to dimensions appropriate for the application. The purities achieved for the final graphite in the synthetic approach are higher than what is possible from the concentration process followed for the natural materials, and this makes the synthetic graphite more attractive to applications such as electronics where purity is critical for the application.
The properties of graphite that make it widely useful in numerous applications are listed. Another goal of this report is to understand these properties and how newer applications are being developed. The electrical conductivity properties are ushering in a large new market for graphite, in the field of energy storage applications. The storage battery markets are seeing a significant boom, thanks to the development of electric vehicles in the past decade. This single application has fundamentally shaken up the graphite market, and one of the key objectives of this report is to understand these shifts. The shift is largely affecting the natural graphite market, and the report attempts to summarize these changes and how various market participants are stepping up to benefit, and, at the same time, pushing the changes in other application markets.
The number of new graphite mines that are being developed is significant. The battery market alone has the potential to double or triple the number of graphite mines operating in various geographic segments of the market. These changes are happening already and the report analyzes these new mining projects in detail, to understand the market trends. Australian and Canadian companies are back in the scene and are expected to control significant market share by 2021. While the market is exploding in the battery segment, the general graphite markets have been hit hard because of the slowdown in the steel industry. Electric Arc Furnaces, which use synthetic graphite electrodes, have seen their volumes drop in recent years and this has caused, not only a drop in the volume of synthetic graphite electrodes, but also in graphite prices. The market is cyclical and 2016 was expected to be the bottom of the cycle, indicating strong market growth coming back to support the synthetic graphite market over this forecast period. Understanding these market trends and their
impact on the graphite market is another objective of this report.
A third application market for graphite that has seen a lot of interest and growth in the past few years is graphene. While there are multiple methods to prepare graphene, several of these start with graphite as the raw material, and hence the changes that are happening to the graphene market are also of importance to the graphite market players. The report also covers this market segment. The goal of this report is to understand all the changes that are happening in the graphite market, to analyze the impact of these combinations and to forecast the size and nature of the graphite market for the forecast period through 2021.
Reasons for Doing This Study
BCC Research has not covered the graphite markets in the past. The material is considered a commodity by most. However, a deeper look into the graphite market suggests that it is anything but a commodity market. There is not a single seller or buyer for graphite who treats the material as a commodity and shops around for the cheapest price alone. Each application market has its own special requirements for the graphite they buy and use, may it be in terms of purity, contaminant levels, particle size distribution, nature of the particles, or the electrical and thermal properties of the material. No individual buyer of graphite would interchange sources without detailed material testing; and in most cases, even final product testing.
Further, the vast shift in the electric vehicle market, as well as the energy storage market, is causing a paradigm shift in the graphite industry. Green energies such as wind and solar markets are bringing in large requirements for energy storage in terms of batteries. Cell phones and other electronic equipment all require power and energy storage devices. Of all the battery technologies available to date, lithium ion battery technology has stood out as unique in its ability to store large quantities of power, and in delivering the power to devices and equipment quickly, all in very limited storage space. These batteries use a large quantity of graphite, often between 30 grams and 40 grams of graphite for each gram of lithium used. This is a perfect example of an application for graphite that is far from a commodity market.
Regulatory pushes are driving these changes. Europe has mandated reduction of carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle to less than 75 grams per kilometer by 2025. This can only be achieved by significantly reducing internal combustion engines and adding more electric vehicles to the market. Germany is discussing a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine–driven vehicles by 2030. If enacted, Germany will be the first country in the world to make this happen. These regulatory changes are directly affecting the graphite market because of its impact in the battery markets. The noncommodity nature of graphite, along with the numerous fast growing applications that are being developed for it, further impacted by regulatory changes, creates for a very interesting market situation. This is the main reason for BCC Research to provide a market analysis for this material.
This report is aimed at five major audience groups. The mining industry: Natural graphite is a mined material. The deposits available across the world vary in its graphite content from a few percentages to as high as 31%. Numerous mapping technologies have made the mineral resource analysis more competitive and less costly. This has supported the graphite mining industry to a large extent. The graphite mining industry is one of the target audience groups for this report. The battery markets are mainly making use of natural graphite that can be purified to the requirements of the battery markets, now in a commercially viable fashion, in comparison to synthetic graphite.
Traditional graphite markets: Graphite has been used in numerous industries for centuries, and these markets are well established. The major markets include electrodes, pencils, lubricants, friction, and refractories. These market segments are analyzed in detail, the changes happening are tabulated and the trends are discussed. The growth in the natural graphite markets is affecting some of these segments and the report covers these in detail. Financial markets: Mining, by its nature, is a capital-intensive business. It takes large amounts of money and several years to get a new mine to be operational, and various financial markets are thus directly involved in supporting the financial investment needs of this market. Forecasting of resources, production volumes, market prices and returns of investment are critical for these financial markets to function smoothly. This report covers the economic assessments of all upcoming mines in detail, and provides a comparison and summary of these operations. The financial market players involved in these transactions will benefit from the contents of this report.
Technocrats and scientists: The recent growing applications of graphite, mainly related to the lithium–ion battery market and the graphene markets, are highly technical in nature. These developments happen in spurts with new technologies being developed for mineral resource analysis, purification of ores, particle screening and segregation, converting the graphite into spherical particles (called spheroidization), coating of these spherical powders, further usage of these powders in batteries, and so on. On the graphene side, new approaches to make graphene are being developed, that are cost competitive to earlier approaches. Some of the market players are taking a vertical integration approach to add value to their mineral products by developing their own process technologies to convert the graphite mineral into value added products for specific applications. The technical details involved in such changes are detailed in this report.
The report also has a separate chapter looking into patents and intellectual property being developed in this market space. The recent growth in the number of patents being granted for various graphite applications suggests that the next few decades will see large commercialization of these technologies. This report covers the technical aspects as well as details of the intellectual property developments in the application markets for graphite. C–level executives: The report is also intended to support the needs of C–level leaders in the industry. As graphite has been a stable and established market for several of the participants, the scale and pace of change that is happening makes reaction and comprehension sometimes difficult. The report attempts to catch and discuss this dichotomy of the market, so that the larger established companies and their management can understand the changes happening in detail, and hopefully can successfully incorporate changes in their own company's approaches. BCC Research has also provided information on investors that are already participating in the market, as several mining companies are at the stage of raising capital.
Scope of Report
The report covers the global graphite markets, providing the market information for 2015 and 2016 and forecasts for 2021. The scope of the report is coverage of the four graphite market segments – refractory and metallurgy, electrical, technical, and the rest – analyzed by application and geography. Estimated values used are based on manufacturers' total revenues. Refractory and metallurgy markets cover those applications that make use of the high temperature stability of graphite. Electrical applications are those that tap into the high electrical conductivity of purer grades of graphite. Technical markets make use of the strength properties, lubrication and radiation absorption. For these segments, we report the status and changes happening in the markets.
The graphite market can also be segmented into natural and synthetic graphite markets. One of the focus areas is the development of natural graphite mining and application, driven largely by the lithium–ion battery markets that are fundamentally changing the structure of the graphite industry. For the synthetic graphite market, BCC Research covers the nature of individual application markets, focusing on graphite electrodes. Another application covered in detail is cathodes for aluminum smelting. In terms of geographic segmentation of the market, the report provides detailed statistics of mining data as well as trade data. Trade statistics for graphite exports and imports for various countries are analyzed in detail, and the past growth rates are provided. Geographical segmentation for numerous application markets is provided.
The large change in natural graphite mining is going to shift the balances of trade for a large number of countries and these changes are also discussed in this report. China has been the market leader in the segment. Australian and Canadian companies will make strong inroads into the market in the coming years, and could command a quarter of the market in 2021. One specific chapter covers the graphite material industry characteristics. In this chapter, the material properties of graphite that make it unique are detailed, and the market structure is discussed. Both natural and synthetic graphite markets are detailed.
A chapter specific to U.S. and European markets is provided. This should be of interest to companies active in these markets and also for graphite companies wanting to sell into these regions. A later chapter reviews the details of the applications for graphite including well established markets such as electrodes, cathodes, carbon brushes, alkaline batteries, pencils, and friction; as well as the upcoming and faster growing applications such as lithium–ion batteries and nuclear. Each application segment is reviewed in detail to show the market statistics, expected growth rates, technological changes, mergers, acquisitions and sales of companies if any, as well as any unique characteristic of each industry.
Patents and intellectual property aspects of the graphite market are detailed in a separate chapter. Here, a review of the number of patents granted by the U.S. Patent Office is analyzed chronologically. In another section of this chapter, all individual players actively developing technologies are discussed. The companies that are in the forefront of such technology and application development, such as Tesla are specifically analyzed in detail. The last chapter of the report covers individual companies that are active in the graphite market. This chapter covers not only the nature and size of each of the operating companies, but also provides the financial data for each company wherever available, and the economic analysis for the graphite mines that are newly being developed. Address and contact details for the market participants are provided.
Information presented in this report is collected and categorized from both primary and secondary information sources. Primary information sources are thought–leaders in the industry who were contacted by e-mail, phone or via personal visits and interviews. The author acknowledges the strong and open communications provided by several company representatives in this regard whom the author knows personally and were gracious enough to provide specific information about the market changes happening to the graphite industry. The support provided by those who were contacted by e-mail and phone is also acknowledged with appreciation. Secondary information sources include internet, market publications, the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO), the U.S. Geological Survey, trade statistics, other specific data sources as well as books, technical journal articles, company literature and regulatory filings. Considering that several companies in the industry are publicly traded enterprises, a large amount of regulatory data was available for review.
The report is compiled from data collected from multiple sources. Company revenues are considered as the basic information. The graphite market has several larger players, but the rest of the market is highly fragmented and regional in nature. Revenue data for the larger players were collected and compiled. Manyapplications for graphite require highly specific grades with particular properties and characteristics. Import and Export data are crucial for these segments as availability is restricted by mineral resources, in case of natural graphite. The export and import data for these segments were analyzed to understand the size and nature of these segments. For the benefit of market participants in these segments, we have included numerous tables with export and import data of graphite grades and products.
Various application markets were reviewed in detail. Statistics available for these markets were also studied, and this data was used to confirm the effective market size that was estimated for graphite for that application segment. The data collected was analyzed and extrapolated where required and assumptions made at several instances based on specifics that are available. The best possible attempts have been made to accurately portray the market sizes and trends based on the data that is available from the various sources.
In this report, the geographic regions considered for market analysis include:
• United States.
• United Kingdom.
Rest of the World
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