Sun shines on the Silicon Market

Jun 16, 2011, 13:24 ET from Roskill Information Services

LONDON, June 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Silicon and Ferrosilicon: Global industry markets and outlook (13th edition)

The major recent development in the silicon industry is the tripling of demand for solar grade polysilicon, with the expectation that the quantity used in solar photovoltaic (PV) modules will start to rival that in the high volume silicon markets within a few years.  Furthermore, high value solar grade silicon allows much higher profit margins than the bulk markets.

Silicon recovering from the impact of the global recession

After contracting sharply in 2009, global demand for both silicon and ferrosilicon recovered in 2010 to about 1.8Mt and 7.4Mt (gross wt) respectively.  In 2010, China was the largest consumer of silicon products, due primarily to growing demand for steel and aluminium products.

World production of silicon metal increased from about 1.1Mt in 2001 to 1.76Mt in 2010, mainly because of increasing Chinese output.  Silicon metal was produced in fifteen countries in 2010, and Chinese production accounted for about 46% of the world total.  

Mainly because of over capacity in China, some of which is used seasonally, world silicon production capacity is about two third utilised.

World production of ferrosilicon in 31 countries totalled about 7.1Mt in 2010, recovering from 6.1Mt in 2009.  

Aluminium and steel still largest end-uses for silicon and ferrosilicon

The main markets for silicon metal in 2010 were as an alloying element with aluminium (45%), in silicone and silane chemicals (35%) and PV (12%).  The market for ferrosilicon is largely in steel (85%) and cast iron (15%), with very small amounts used in non-ferrous alloys, dense media and other applications.  

Although most aluminium products and components contain some silicon, the bulk is added to cast aluminium used in automobile engine components.  Cast aluminium alloys contain up to 23%Si, and typically 7%Si, and account for over 80% of silicon metal consumption in aluminium alloys.  

Most silicon consumed by steel makers is in the form of 50%Si and 75%Si grade ferrosilicon, with 75%Si grade prevailing.  The term 'silicon steels' generally refers to those carbon steels containing above 0.4%Si.

Silicon market outlook bright due to solar cells

In 2010, solar photovoltaics were generating electricity in more than 100 countries, and are the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world.  Grid connected solar capacity was about 30GW at the beginning of 2011, still a tiny fraction of the 5TW (terawatt) of total global power-generating capacity.  Between 2004 and 2010, grid-connected solar capacity increased at an annual average rate of 60%.  Off-grid solar installations account for about an additional 4GW.

Driven by advances in technology and scale, the cost of solar power installations has declined steadily, and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity and government subsidies for new installations, have supported solar installations in many countries.  

As costs of both producing solar grade silicon and generating solar energy fall, demand for silicon will rise.  As the solar energy market expands and matures, growth rates of 50% to 60%py will become less common, but in the period up to 2015, an average growth rate in demand for silicon of 20%py is likely, resulting in a market of about 535kt.

Although demand for silicon in solar energy will increase sharply, we expect the largest end-uses for silicon metal and ferrosilicon to remain in aluminium and steel, respectively.  

Growth in demand for silicon as an alloying element in aluminium will continue to depend largely on the use of cast aluminium components by the world's automobile industries.  Increased global demand for all forms of silicon-bearing aluminium alloy in the medium term will largely depend on the expansion of Asian economies, as automobile production, electrification and construction grow.  As a result of this expected demand, silicon consumption in aluminium alloys is expected to grow by around 5% per year over the next five years.

Demand for ferrosilicon in steel will be driven by rising steel production in emerging markets, particularly in the BRIC countries, with total world crude steel production forecast to grow by an annual average rate of 5-6% through to 2015.

Although falling sharply in 2009, silicon prices have reacted strongly over the latter half of 2010 and early 2011, getting back to the record levels seen in early 2008    In the longer term, assisted by anti-dumping duties in both the USA and Europe and high power costs in China, there appears to be no reason why silicon prices should not remain above US$3,000/t, possibly moving towards US$4,000/t from 2013 onwards.

Silicon and Ferrosilicon: Global industry markets and outlook, 13th edition is available at £3300 / US$5400 / €4600 from Roskill Information Services Ltd, 54 Russell, London SW19 1QL, England. Tel: +44 20 8417 0087. Fax +44 20 8417 1308 Email: Web:

Note to editors

The report contains 270 pages, 86 tables, 123 figures. It provides a detailed review of the industry, with subsections on the activities of the leading producing companies. It also analyses consumption, trade and prices.

For further information or a review copy of this report, please contact Khayyam Jahangir ( To receive press releases via email, please contact Prakash Ramachandran (

                      Silicon and Ferrosilicon: Global Industry Markets and Outlook, 13th edition
    Table of Contents 2011
    1                 Summary
    1.1               Production
    1.2               Consumption
    1.3               Prices
    1.4               Market outlook

    2                 Occurrence, history and properties of silicon and ferrosilicon
    2.1               Occurrence and resources of silicon
    2.2               Properties of silicon

    3                 Production processes, production costs and grades of silicon and
    3.1               Silicon production processes
    3.2               Ferrosilicon production processes
    3.3               Silicon and ferrosilicon production costs
    3.4               Grades of silicon and ferrosilicon
    3.4.1             Silicon grades
    3.4.2             Ferrosilicon grades

    4                 World supply of silicon and ferrosilicon
    4.1               Silicon production
    4.1.1             Silicon producing companies and capacities
    4.1.2             Changes in silicon capacity
    4.2               Ferrosilicon production
    4.2.1             Ferrosilicon capacities and producing companies
    4.3               New projects

    5                 Notes on silicon and ferrosilicon producing countries
    5.1               Argentina
    5.1.1             Electrometalúrgica Andina SAIC
    5.1.2             Globe Metales SA
    5.1.3             Industrias Siderurgicas Grassi
    5.2               Australia
    5.2.1             Simcoa Operations Pty Ltd.
    5.2.2             Lithgow silicon project
    5.3               Bhutan
    5.3.1             Bhutan Ferro Alloys Ltd
    5.3.2             SD Eastern Bhutan Ferro Silicon Pvt Ltd
    5.4               Bosnia-Herzegovina
    5.4.1             BSI d.o.o.
    5.4.2             Ferrosil d.o.o.
    5.5               Brazil
    5.5.1             Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies in Brazil           Cia Brasileira Carbureto de Cálcio           Dow Corning Metais do Pará Ltda           Cia de Ferro Ligas da Bahia (Ferbasa)           Cia Ferroligas Minas Gerais (Minasligas)           Italmagnésio Nordeste SA           Ligas de Alumínio SA (Liasa)           Ligas do Brasil SA           Nova Era Silicon SA           Rima Industrial SA          Rio Doce Manganês SA          Other companies
    5.6               Bulgaria
    5.7               Canada
    5.7.1             Quebec Silicon Limited Partnership
    5.7.2             Bécancour Silicon Inc
    5.7.3             Elkem Metals Canada Inc.
    5.7.4             Gossan Resources Ltd
    5.8               Chile
    5.9               China
    5.9.1             Silicon producers in China           Dalian Kangning Silicon Development           Zhejiang Kaihua Yuantong Silicon           Yunnan Yongchang Silicon           Simag Industrial Corp           Jaco Metal Ltd           Ganzi Ferroatlántica Silicon Industry           Mangshi Sinice Silicon Industry/Ferroatlántica           Ruixin Mining           Other companies
    5.9.2             Ferrosilicon producers in China           Dragon Northwest Ferroalloy           Erdos Electrical Power & Metallurgical           Inner Mongolia Baotou Daqingshan Smelting           Qinghai Wutong           Other companies
    5.1               Egypt
    5.10.1            Egyptian Ferroalloy Co
    5.10.2            Egyptian Chemical Industries - Kima
    5.11              France
    5.11.1            FerroPem
    5.12              Germany
    5.12.1            RW Silicium GmbH
    5.12.2            Other companies
    5.13              Hungary
    5.14              Iceland
    5.14.1            Elkem Iceland
    5.14.2            Timminco
    5.14.3            Iceland Silicon Corporation (Globe)
    5.15              India
    5.15.1            Ferrosilicon producing companies in India          Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA)          Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Ltd          Silcal Metallurgic Ltd          Snam Alloys Pvt Ltd          VBC Ferro Alloys Ltd          Other producers
    5.16              Iran
    5.16.1            Iran Ferroalloy Industries Co
    5.16.2            Iran Ferrosilice Co
    5.17              Italy
    5.18              Japan
    5.19              Kazakhstan
    5.19.1            Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation
    5.19.2            Silicium Kazakhstan LLP
    5.2               South Korea
    5.21              Laos
    5.22              Macedonia
    5.22.1            Metal Invest EFT
    5.23              Netherlands
    5.24              New Zealand
    5.25              Norway
    5.25.1            Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies          Elkem ASA          Fesil ASA          Wacker Chemie Ag          Finnfjord Smelteverk ASA
    5.26              Poland
    5.26.1            Huta Laziska SA
    5.27              Romania
    5.28              Russia
    5.28.1            Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies          Bratsk Ferroalloy (Mechel)          Chelyabinsk Electric Steelworks          JSC Kuznetskie Ferroalloys          Novolipetsk Steel          Rusal          Serovsky Ferroalloy Plant          Yurga Ferroalloys
    5.29              Saudi Arabia
    5.3               Slovakia
    5.31              Slovenia
    5.32              South Africa
    5.32.1            Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies in South Africa          Kumba Ferroalloys          Rand Carbide          Silicon Smelters (Pty) Ltd          Silicon Technology (Pty) Ltd (Siltech)          Siyanda-Inkwali Resources
    5.33              Spain
    5.33.1            Ferroatlántica SL
    5.34              Sweden
    5.35              Taiwan
    5.36              Turkey
    5.37              Ukraine
    5.37.1            Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies in Ukraine          Stakhanov Ferroalloy Works          Zaporozhye Ferroalloy Works
    5.38              UK
    5.39              USA
    5.39.1            Silicon and ferrosilicon producing companies in the USA          CC Metals & Alloys Inc (CCMA)          Dow Corning Corp          Globe Specialty Metals          Northwest Silicon          Other producers of silicon and ferrosilicon
    5.4               Uruguay
    5.41              Venezuela
    5.41.1            Ferro Atlantica of Venezuela (Ferroven)

    6                 Consumption of ferrosilicon and silicon metal
    6.1               Consumption of silicon
    6.2               Consumption of ferrosilicon
    6.3               Consumption of silicon metal and ferrosilicon by use

    7                 Uses of silicon metal
    7.1               Use of silicon metal in aluminium alloys
    7.1.1             Markets for silicon-bearing aluminium alloys
    7.1.2             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in transport           Motor vehicles           Railways           Aerospace           Marine
    7.1.3             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in machinery and equipment
    7.1.4             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in building and construction
    7.1.5             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in consumer durables
    7.1.6             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in electricity           Electricity transmission           Telecommunications           Other
    7.1.7             Use of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in containers and packaging
    7.1.8             Uses of silicon-bearing aluminium alloys in other applications           Metallurgy           Other applications
    7.2               Use of silicon in silicones and silanes
    7.2.1             Silanes
    7.2.2             Silicones
    7.2.3             The markets for silicones
    7.2.4             Producers of silicone products and intermediates           Dow Corning           Momentive Performance Materials           Wacker-Chimie GmbH           Shin Etsu           Bluestar Silicones           Evonik Industries           Chinese producers
    7.3               Use of silicon metal in the production of polycrystalline silicon
    7.3.1             Hemlock Semiconductor Group
    7.3.2             Wacker Polysilicon
    7.3.3             Tokuyama Corp
    7.3.4             Renewable Energy Corporation
    7.3.5             MEMC Electronic Materials
    7.3.6             OCI
    7.3.7             Chinese polysilicon companies           GCL-Poly Energy           LDK Solar           Other companies
    7.3.8             Other producers
    7.4               Use of silicon metal in photovoltaic (solar) cells
    7.4.1             Solar wafers
    7.4.2             Solar cells and modules
    7.5               Use of silicon metal in semiconductors
    7.5.1             Production of silicon semiconductor wafers
    7.5.2             Markets for silicon semiconductor wafers           Silicon integrated circuits - chips
    7.6               Other uses of silicon
    7.6.1             Iron and steel
    7.6.2             Superalloys
    7.6.3             Nickel and iron-based alloys
    7.6.4             Silicon nitride
    7.6.5             Sialons
    7.6.6             Silicon nanoparticles
    7.6.7             Porous silicon
    7.7               Microsilica and silicon carbide (carborundum)
    7.7.1             Microsilica
    7.7.2             Silicon carbide

    8                 Uses of ferrosilicon
    8.1               Use of ferrosilicon in steel
    8.1.1             Comparison of ferrosilicon and crude steel production
    8.1.2             Crude steel production           Carbon steels           Production and consumption of carbon steels
    8.1.3             Alloy engineering steels           Electrical steels           Full alloy steels           HSLA steels
    8.1.4             Tool and high speed steels           Hot-work tool/die and valve steels           Cold-work tool steels           Carbon tool steels
    8.1.5             Stainless steels           Production of stainless steel           Metallurgy of stainless steels           Markets for stainless steel           Process industries           Building and construction           Transport           Other
    8.2               Use of ferrosilicon in cast iron
    8.2.1             Production of cast irons
    8.2.2             Metallurgy and applications of cast irons           Ductile cast iron           Acicular and austenitic grey cast iron           White, malleable and pearlitic cast irons
    8.3               Other uses for ferrosilicon

    9                 Analysis of international trade data for silicon and ferrosilicon
    9.1               International trade in standard grade silicon metal
    9.1.1             Exports
    9.1.2             Imports
    9.2               International trade in high purity silicon
    9.2.1             Exports
    9.2.2             Imports
    9.3               International trade in >55%Si ferrosilicon
    9.3.1             Exports
    9.3.2             Imports
    9.4               International trade in <55%Si ferrosilicon
    9.4.1             Exports
    9.4.2             Imports

    10                Outlook for silicon metal and ferrosilicon demand and future capacity
    10.1              Outlook for silicon
    10.1.1            Outlook for silicon in aluminium alloys          Transport          Machinery and equipment          Consumer durables          Construction          Electrical
    10.1.2            Outlook for silicone-based chemicals
    10.1.3            Outlook for silicon demand in solar cells
    10.1.4            Outlook for silicon demand in semiconductors
    10.2              Outlook for ferrosilicon
    10.2.1            Outlook for use of ferrosilicon in steel
    10.2.2            Outlook for ferrosilicon use in cast irons
    10.3              Future silicon metal and ferrosilicon capacity

    11                Prices and marketing of silicon and ferrosilicon
    11.1              Silicon metal prices
    11.1.1            Historic price trends of silicon metal          Price trends 1995 to 2003          Price trends 2004 to 2011
    11.2              Ferrosilicon prices
    11.2.1            Historic price trends for ferrosilicon          Ferrosilicon price trends 1995 to 2003          Ferrosilicon price trends from 2004 to 2011
    11.3              Outlook for prices of silicon metal and ferrosilicon

SOURCE Roskill Information Services