The Synthetic Graphite Market size is forecast to reach US$3.4 billion by 2027, after growing at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period 2022-2027. Synthetic graphite is primarily composed of graphitic carbon that is obtained through the process of graphitization, or through chemical vapor deposition from hydrocarbons at high temperatures. It can be categorized into graphite electrodes, graphite blocks, and a graphite anode. Graphite electrodes are made of calcined petroleum coke and coal tar pitch while graphite blocks are made of the same petroleum coke process as electrodes with a slight difference in the structure of coke. They are used in a wide range of industries which include automotive, metallurgy, solar, electronics, nuclear, aerospace, and other industries. In 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) announced that at least US$ 15 billion of solar power projects is expected to operate in the region in the next five years. The increasing demand for synthetic graphite from the solar and automotive industries acts as the major driver for the market. However, health hazards associated with the production of synthetic graphite may act as a major constraint for the market.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 lockdown has significantly reduced automotive, and production activities as a result of the country-wise shutdown of automotive sites, shortage of labor, and the decline of supply and demand chain all over the world, thus, affecting the market. Studies show that the outbreak of COVID-19 sharply declined the production of automotive in 2020 due to a lack of operations across multiple countries around the world. According to OICA (International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers), the production of automobiles decreased by 16% globally in the year 2020, compared to 2019. However, a slow recovery in the automotive industry has been witnessed across many countries around the world since 2021. For instance, the Indian government has significantly reduced customs duty for the imports of electric vehicles components from a range of 10-15% to15-30%, along with provisioning tax breaks and economic packages for the automotive industry, in order to sustain and recover from the decline of activities in automotive sectors during COVID-19 crisis.
In this way, an increase in automotive production activities is expected to increase the demand for synthetic graphite as they are primarily used in the production of li-ion batteries and fuel cells required in electric vehicles. This will lead to an increase in demand for synthetic graphite which indicates a slow and steady recovery of the market in the upcoming years.
Synthetic Graphite Market Segment Analysis – By Product Type
Graphite electrodes held a significant share in the Synthetic Graphite Market in 2021, owing to its increasing demand due to the characteristics and benefits it offers over other product types. Graphite electrodes offer high resistance to thermal shock, low coefficient of thermal expansion along with higher stability in comparison to other synthetic graphite product types. Moreover, graphite electrodes provide a higher metal removal rate, easy processing, and high processing speed. They are lightweight and have a high melting point in comparison to other product types. Hence, all of these benefits are driving its demand over other synthetic graphite product types, which in turn, is expected to boost the market growth in the upcoming years.
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Synthetic Graphite Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The metallurgy industry held the largest share in the Synthetic Graphite Market in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% between 2022 and 2027, owing to an increase in global steel production. According to World Steel Organization, the total crude steel production in North America reached up to 108.3 million tons in 2021, an increase of 17.8% as compared to 2020. Likewise, crude steel production in South America reached up to 42.1 million tons in 2021, representing a growth of 20.7% in comparison to 2020. Furthermore, the total steel production in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa reached up to 141.4 million tons, 37.4 million tons, and 14.7 million tons respectively in 2021.
Synthetic graphite electrodes are primarily used in the production of steel along with raw materials such as petroleum coke and coal tar pitch. Thus, an increase in steel production across the globe is expected to increase the demand for synthetic graphite required during its production, leading to market growth during the forecast period.
Synthetic Graphite Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
The Asia Pacific held the largest share in the Synthetic Graphite Market in 2021 up to 30%. The consumption of synthetic graphite is particularly high in this region due to its increasing demand for the production of steel, aluminum, magnesium, and more in the metallurgy industry. Synthetic graphite is primarily used with raw materials such as petroleum coke and coal tar pitch in the production of metals. For instance, China held the largest market share across the world in 2021 in terms of steel production, followed by India, and Japan. According to World Steel Organization, the total crude steel production in China reached up to 946.4 million tons in 2021. Likewise, crude steel production in India reached up to 107.3 million tons in 2021, representing a growth of 19.3% in comparison to 2020. Furthermore, the total steel production in Japan reached up to 88.4 million tons in 2021, an increase of 16.8% as compared to 2020. In 2020, the total production of manganese in Australia reached up to 3,180 thousand metric tons, an increase of 3.8% in comparison to 2019.
In this way, the growth of the metallurgy industry along with the increasing steel and manganese production activities in the region is expected to increase the demand for synthetic graphite required during its production. This is likely to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Synthetic Graphite Market Drivers
An increase in demand from the solar industry is most likely to increase demand for the product
The demand for synthetic graphite has been increasing rapidly as it is primarily used in the production of solar panels used during solar PV installations. According to the Global Outlook for Solar Power Industry published by the Global Solar Council, a total of 138.2 GW solar PV capacity was installed across the world during 2020, which indicated an increase of 18% in comparison to 117.6 GW solar in the year 2019. China was the leading country with 48.2 GW of solar PV capacity installed in 2020. This is followed by the US with 19.3 GW, Vietnam with 11.6 GW, Japan with 8.2 GW, and Australia with 5.1 GW of total solar PV capacity installed by 2020. All of the top five leading countries saw an increase in their annual growth rate in comparison to 2019.
In this way, an increase in demand for the use and installation of solar PV capacity is expected to increase the demand for synthetic graphite required during the production of solar panels, owing to its excellent heat and corrosion resistance properties. This is expected to accelerate the growth of the market in the upcoming years.
An increase in production of electric vehicles is most likely to increase demand for the product
According to the International Netherlands Group (ING), the demand for the production and development of electric vehicles has been increasing since the pandemic. It states that the global sales of new electric vehicles have increased by 50% in 2021, and are expected to increase by 8% in 2022. It further states that the sales of electric vehicles have increased by 14% in Europe, 9% in China and 4% in the U.S. Synthetic graphite is primarily used in the production of li-ion batteries, and fuel cells used in electric vehicles, owing to its properties such as high electrical and thermal conductivity, high melting point, high strength, and corrosion resistance. Hence, the increasing demand and production of electric vehicles are expected to increase the demand for synthetic graphite, leading to the growth of the market in the upcoming years.
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Synthetic Graphite Market Challenges
Health hazards associated with the production of synthetic graphite may confine the market growthThe primary raw materials used in the production of synthetic graphite include calcined petroleum coke and coal tar pitch. However, these raw materials pose a threat to human health. In case of contact, petroleum coke and coal tar pitch can irritate the eyes, along with causing rash, irritation, and burning on the skin. In case of inhalation, it can irritate the throat, nose, and lungs. Prolonged exposure to these raw materials can also cause fatigue, headache, and dizziness in mild cases along with fainting and coma in severe cases. Moreover, occupational exposure to coal tar pitch also increases the risk of skin cancer along with other types of cancer, which include lung, kidney, bladder, and digestive tract cancer in some cases. Hence, such health hazards associated with the use of these raw materials for the production of synthetic graphite may confine the market growth.
Synthetic Graphite Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Synthetic Graphite Market. Synthetic Graphite top 10 companies are:
Showa Denko Materials Co., Ltd.
XRD Graphite Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
Beiterui New Material Group Co. Ltd
Graphit Kropfmuhl GmbH
Imerys Graphite & Carbon Ltd.
Canada Carbon Inc.
In January 2021, Showa Denko announced the merger of between its consolidated branches, Showa Denko Carbon Holding GmbH (SDCH), and Showa Denko Europe GmbH (SDE). By combining the business management and business support functions of the two subsidiaries into one, this merger is expected to further expand the company’s business operation in Europe.
In January 2021, Imerys Graphite & Carbon Ltd. launched its two new primary synthetic graphite namely KS6L and SFG6L. The main objective of the product development was to increase the company’s product portfolio.
In February 2020, Mersen completed the acquisition of GAB Neumann GmbH, an expert in the design, manufacture, and supplier of graphite and silicon carbide heat exchangers. The major motive of this acquisition was to strengthen the company’s anti-corrosion market.
Metallurgy industry in the Synthetic Graphite Market is expected to see the fastest growth, especially during the forecast period, owing to an increase in global production of metals such as steel, aluminum, manganese, and more.
Synthetic graphite has a wide range of properties which include high electrical and thermal conductivity, high melting point, high strength, self-lubrication, and corrosion resistance which makes it ideal for the production of batteries, fuel cells, and solar panels used in automotive and solar industries.
Asia-Pacific dominated the Synthetic Graphite Market in 2021, owing to the increasing demand for synthetic graphite from the metallurgy sector of the region. According to World Steel Organization, the total crude steel production in Asia-Pacific reached up to 1,264.9 million tons in 2021.
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