Graphite Market Overview
The global graphite market is projected to reach $19.0 billion by 2020, witnessing a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period. The increasing use of graphite in the automotive industry along with the increasing use of graphite in lithium-ion batteries are the major factors driving the growth of the global market.
GLOBAL GRAPHITE MARKET SHARE BY REGION, BASED ON VOLUME (2014 AND 2020)
On the basis of form, the market for graphite is categorized into natural graphite and synthetic graphite. Synthetic graphite held the largest share in the graphite market during the historical period and is expected to contribute more than 90% share to the market by 2020. This is attributed to its superior consistency and higher purity (+99%) as compared to natural graphite. In addition, Manufacturers prefer synthetic graphite as it offers higher reliability and performance, even though it is two to three times more expensive than natural graphite.
In terms of application, the market for graphite is categorized into electrode, refractory, lubricant, foundry, battery and others. Electrode was the largest application area of graphite during the historical period and is expected to account for more than 30.0% share in the global graphite market in 2020. Electric arc furnace steel production is increasing in most parts of the world. This is anticipated to increase the sales of electrodes, the leading synthetic graphite product. Majority of graphite electrodes manufactures are in the U.S., China, India, Japan, and Europe.
Globally, APAC is the largest graphite market and is expected to be the largest market during the forecast period. The growth of the APAC market is attributed to the rise of technologically advanced applications of graphite in pebble-bed nuclear reactors, fuel cells, solar power systems, and automotive and aerospace industries. China and India are the major market for graphite in the region. Rising demand for steel and other metals have increased the demand for graphite electrode in Asia-Pacific; which in turn is driving the growth of the market.
Graphite Market Dynamics
One of the major drivers of the graphite market is the increasing use of graphite in lithium-ion batteries. The utilization of graphite in batteries has expanded altogether in the recent years. Regarding weight, graphite is the second biggest segment in the lithium-ion batteries. Most of the graphite utilized as a part of batteries is for lithium-ion batteries. Also, quick increment in the utilization of lithium-ion batteries in cell phones, portable workstations, tablets, versatile media players and power tools is likely to further drive the graphite market.
One of the trends observed in the global graphite market is the increasing demand for graphite from pebble-bed nuclear reactor. A pebble-bed nuclear reactor is a modular nuclear reactor that uses graphite spheres to carry uranium fuel and gas cooling systems. These reactors are more efficient and cool naturally when closed. Pebble-bed nuclear reactors require huge amount of graphite to operate. In China, the first prototype of this reactor is operational, with plans to build around 30 new pebble-bed nuclear reactors by 2020. This is expected to create ample opportunities for the graphite companies in the future.
Graphite Market Competitive Landscape
Graphite is a competitive market with the presence of many global and regional players. Syrah Resources, Energizer Resources Inc., Triton Minerals Ltd, Mason Graphite Inc., and Northern Graphite Corporation are some companies with the largest contained graphite resources. Most graphite companies depend on institutional investors to fund operations at their various exploring sites and purchases various exploration equipment. Increase in demand for various products, such as lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, lubricants, and automobile parts, are expected to drive the graphite market during the forecast period. This may increase competition in the market.
The key companies operating in the global graphite market include Lamboo Resources Limited, Triton Minerals Ltd., Focus Graphite Inc., Mason Graphite, Northern Graphite Corporation, Energizer Resources Inc., Flinders Resources Ltd., Alabama Graphite Corp., SGL Carbon SE, Syrah Resources Limited, Graphite India Limited, GrafTech International Holdings Inc, Asbury Graphite Mills, Inc, Nippon Graphite Industries, Co., Ltd., Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd. and Showa Denko K.K.