Global Large Tow Carbon Fiber Market 2021
The global large tow carbon fiber market showed a value of $571 million in 2021 and is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.43%, reaching $1,960 million by 2031. This growth is primarily attributed to several factors. Stringent government regulations, coupled with carbon neutrality targets, are driving the demand for large tow carbon fiber. Furthermore, the use of recycled steel offers energy and cost efficiency, while the scarcity of raw materials and energy has led to a significant increase in steel demand. However, impurities in recycled steel and complex product designs pose challenges. Additionally, the high production costs associated with green steel, infrastructure expenses, and green hydrogen prices also restrain market growth.
The demand for large tow carbon fiber is strongly influenced by the renewable energy sector, as well as stringent regulations and carbon emission policies globally. Growing awareness and increasing demand from developing countries further contribute to market expansion. Large tow carbon fiber, with its commercial grade of more than 48,000 filaments, is particularly favored for general industrial applications. Wind energy turbine blades represent a major application for large tow carbon fiber, experiencing substantial growth worldwide. Governments worldwide are taking initiatives to promote renewable energy production and consumption, with global carbon dioxide emissions related to the energy sector on the rise. This presents opportunities for the carbon fiber composite industry, driven by regulations and carbon neutrality targets. The outstanding mechanical and lightweight properties of large tow carbon fiber make it an ideal material in renewable energy, aerospace, defense, automotive, and transportation applications, as lightweight materials are sought after to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Despite these driving factors, the market faces challenges such as higher production costs compared to conventional materials, complex manufacturing processes, and machining difficulties. Research and development efforts are underway to address these challenges and meet the growing demand for large tow carbon fiber.
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USD 1960 Mn incremental growth between 2021 and 2026
End-Use Application, Product Type, Technology, Region
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The global focus on advanced lighter materials as alternatives to traditional heavy materials, particularly in the energy and automotive industries, has fueled the demand for large tow carbon fiber. This shift is particularly evident in regions such as North America, China, and Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a mixed impact on the global large tow carbon fiber market. While sectors like energy and medical appliances experienced positive growth, the slowdown in the automotive, aerospace, and sports industries negatively affected demand.
The global large tow carbon fiber market is driven by several demand drivers. There is a growing demand from the renewable energy sector, as industries seek to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint. Stringent regulations and carbon emission policies implemented by governments worldwide are pushing industries towards using carbon fiber as a lightweight and eco-friendly alternative. Increasing awareness of the benefits of large tow carbon fiber and rising demand from developing countries contribute to the market’s growth.
However, the market also faces certain challenges. One of the major challenges is the high cost of production compared to conventional materials. The manufacturing process for large tow carbon fiber is complex, which leads to higher production expenses. Additionally, machining problems can arise due to the unique properties of carbon fiber, making it more difficult to work with compared to traditional materials. These challenges need to be addressed in order to fully unlock the market’s potential and drive further growth in the large tow carbon fiber industry.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including end-use application, product type, technology, and region.
Segmentation by End-Use Application
Segmentation by Product Type
Segmentation by Technology
Segmentation by Region
North America – U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Europe – Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Rest-of-Europe
Asia-Pacific and Japan – Japan, India, South Korea, and Rest-of-Asia Pacific and
Rest-of-the-World – Middle East and Africa and South America
In terms of end-use application, the energy sector held the largest share of the global large tow carbon fiber market in 2021, accounting for 64.6%. It is expected to continue being the largest application during the forecast period of 2022-2031. Large tow carbon fibers find extensive use in the wind energy generation field, including applications such as larger blades, flywheel parts, and rotors. Additionally, carbon fiber plays a crucial role in the solar energy market, being used in components like solar panel frames and supporting plates. The increasing global demand for renewable energy is projected to drive the long-term demand for large tow carbon fiber, particularly in the renewable energy and power generation industry.
Regarding product type, the 48K segment dominated the market with a share of 55.84% in 2021. This product type is highly favored due to its ability to meet the requirements of major industrial applications and overcome the limitations posed by high-priced carbon fiber. The 48K carbon fiber exhibits excellent quality performance while maintaining low production costs, making it increasingly preferred by end users.
In terms of technology, the PAN-based segment held the dominant position in 2021, accounting for an 86.6% share of the global large tow carbon fiber market. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is an advanced raw material used in the large-scale commercial production of large tow carbon fiber. Though PAN is expensive, it serves as a key precursor for carbon fiber production. While alternatives such as pitch, lignin, and rayon are considered important for manufacturing carbon fibers, further research and development are necessary to enhance their performance and cost efficiency before commercialization.
Regionally, North America was the leading market, holding a 29.04% share in 2021 and expected to maintain its market dominance through 2031. North America is a significant producer and consumer of carbon fiber, taking the lead in the large tow carbon fiber market. China is the second-largest region, projected to add substantial capacities for large tow carbon fiber manufacturing during the forecast period. Key players like China Petrochemical Corporation and Jilin Tangu Carbon Fiber Co., Ltd. are expanding their production of large tow carbon fiber in response to rising demand from various industries. Stringent environmental regulations and goals for achieving a net zero carbon economy by 2070 also contribute to the growth of the large tow carbon fiber market in the region.
The selection of the profiled companies was carried out by considering inputs gathered from primary industry experts and conducting an analysis of each company’s coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.
Key companies profiled in this report include TORAY INDUSTRIES, INC., SGL Carbon, Teijin Limited, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Solvay, China Petrochemical Corporation, Hexcel Corporation, Jilin Tangu Carbon Fiber Co., Ltd., Formosa Plastics Group, UMATEX.
Recent Industry Developments
China Petrochemical Corporation commenced operations of its large tow carbon fiber production line in October 2022. The company has strategically planned the establishment of the nation’s first factory line for the large tow carbon fiber project. The production capacity is set at 24,000 tons per year of precursors and 12,000 tons per year of large tow carbon fibers.
In February 2021, Montefibre Carbon announced a noteworthy investment of $17.4 million for its inaugural precursor dedicated to the innovative 80K tow. The Spanish Ministry of Industry granted $12 million to facilitate the development of aerospace-grade carbon fiber. Currently, the company is actively engaged in upgrading its production lines and conducting research and development to manufacture large tow PAN precursor for subsequent conversion into carbon fiber.
In December 2019, Solvay, a Belgium-based specialty chemicals manufacturer, and SGL, a Germany-based carbon fiber manufacturer, signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with the purpose of collaboratively developing large tow carbon fiber materials specifically for aerostructures.
Key Questions Answered
What are some of the significant factors and trends influencing the large tow carbon fiber market?
How has the global consumption and production of large tow carbon fiber been affected by COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war?
Which leading end-use applications are rapidly adopting large tow carbon fiber, and what are the buyer’s preferences and attributes towards the large tow carbon fiber market in each country or region?
What are the latest developments in various countries aimed at promoting the growth of the large tow carbon fiber market, and which key start-ups are focusing on its development?
What governmental regulations and initiatives have contributed to the increased adoption of large tow carbon fibers?
What is the total addressable market for large tow carbon fiber, and what changes can be expected in the near future?
Who are the key start-ups in the large tow carbon fiber market, and what is an analysis of their funding?
What are the major technologies utilized in the manufacturing of large tow carbon fiber?
What are the significant distinguishing factors between large tow carbon fiber and its substitutes in the market?