Albany, NY (PRWEB) February 24, 2014
Carbon fiber is the new-generation reinforced fiber, mainly used in the fields of aerospace, wind power, automotive, sports and leisure. In 2013, the global industrial applications like wind power and automobiles showed the largest demand for carbon fiber, namely more than 60%, followed by aerospace, with the growing proportion of carbon fiber application, and hence the demand steadily increased while the growth of demand from sports and leisure was relatively slow.
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In 2013, the global carbon fiber capacity totaled approximately 120,000 tons, mainly contributed by Japan and the U.S. The world's top five companies -- Toray, Teijin, Zoltek, Mitsubishi Rayon and Formosa Plastics shared 55% of the global carbon fiber capacity. In September 2013, Toray acquired Zoltek to raise its market share to about 30%.
Carbon fiber is primarily divided into PAN-based carbon fiber whose utilization rate hits about 95%, and pitch-based carbon fiber. In 2013, two-thirds of the global small-tow (≤ 24K) PAN-based carbon fiber was produced by Toray, Teijin and Mitsubishi Rayon; three-fourths of the large-tow (> 24K) PAN-based carbon fiber was made by Zoltek and SGL; half of pitch-based carbon fiber was created by Kureha.
Though still in the initial stage, China carbon fiber industry has been developing fast under the stimulation of policies and the gap between supply and demand in recent years.
In 2009-2013, China’s carbon fiber capacity grew at the CAGR of up to 53.5%, reaching 18,000 tons or so in 2013. However, the immature technology of Chinese carbon fiber manufacturers resulted in low quality, high production costs and poor profitability. In 2013, China’s actual carbon fiber output was only about 3,000 tons, with the import dependency rate of around 76%.
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In 2013, there were more than 20 Chinese carbon fiber manufacturers, such as Jiangsu Hengshen Fiber Material, Zhongfu Shenying Carbon Fiber, Bluestar Fibres, Tianhua Excel-Way Special Fiber (Xintai) and Weihai Tuozhan Fiber. But only Jiangsu Hengshen Fiber Material and Zhongfu Shenying Carbon Fiber achieved the respective output of 1,000 tons or so.
Currently, numerous proposed and ongoing projects of China carbon fiber industry embrace Jiangcheng Carbon Fiber Project Phase II (1,500 tons/a) and Shanghai Petrochemical 3,000 tons/a Carbon Fiber Precursor and 1,500 tons/a Carbon Fiber Project, both of which are planned to be put into production in 2014.
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