After years of steady but unimpressive growth, the global carbon fiber industry is finally set for a boom in revenue, thanks to burgeoning demand from the wind energy market, says the latest report from business intelligence company GBI Research.
According to the firm’s latest release, “Carbon Fiber Global Market to 2020 – Despite Price Concerns, Industrial Applications, Aerospace and Consumer Goods Drive Future Demand”, global carbon fiber demand will hit 153,700 tons in 2020, climbing from 52,500 tons in 2012, a massive increase of 193% in just eight years.
Wind energy, a vital segment of the rapidly expanding renewable energy market, will be the key driver of the carbon fiber industry, says GBI Research. Currently, wind turbine blades constructed from Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) dominate the industry landscape, but due to their greater rigidity, lower weight and reduced cost, producers are making the move to carbon fiber alternatives.
Considering this shift in manufacturing materials, combined with the increasing deployment of wind farms across the world, GBI Research forecasts carbon fiber demand for the wind energy industry to jump from 12,270 tons in 2011 to 67,400 tons in 2020, making it the single largest carbon fiber end user segment by some margin.
Demand from the aerospace industry is also expected demonstrate significant growth in the near future, although from a lower base figure. Thanks to the increased use of carbon fiber composites in aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, GBI Research anticipates aerospace industry demand for the material to climb at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.8% from 7,200 tons in 2012 to 19,700 tons in 2020.