Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) Market size is forecast to reach $22.50 billion by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 9.41% during 2020-2025, owing to the increasing adoption of carbon fiber reinforced plastics over conventional metallic alloys in various end use industries such as automotive, aerospace, wind energy, and others. This is mainly due to tensile strength carried by CFRP, which falls between 1500 and 3500 MPa, whereas its metallic counterparts such as aluminum and steel only possess tensile strength of 450–600 MPa and 750–1500 MPa, respectively. Growing demand from the aerospace industry and a rising preference for fuel efficient and light-weight vehicles are the major factors driving the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market during the forecast period.

By Type – Segment Analysis

The thermosetting segment held the largest share in the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market in 2019, owing to the superior characteristics of thermosetting CFRP over thermoplastic CFRP. Unlike thermoplastics, they retain their strength and shape even when heated. This makes thermosetting plastics well-suited to the production of permanent components and large, solid shapes. Furthermore, these components have outstanding high strength-to-weight ratio performance, enhanced dielectric strength, low thermal conductivity. Thus, thermoset CFRP find their use in varied applications owing to their heat resistant characteristics, excellent dimensional and chemical stability properties when exposed to high heat and more.

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By Application – Segment Analysis

The defense application held the largest share in the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market in 2019 and is growing at a CAGR of 9.42%, owing to its ability to reduce a weight of an object to a large extent while providing superior strength. Thus, there is an increasing demand of carbon fiber reinforced plastics from the defense industries to manufacture specialty components for missile systems, radar panels, body armors, helmets, rocket motor casing, artificial limbs, ballistics, nuclear submarine, propulsion systems and many more. Some of the materials used in military composites include Kevlar, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Countries like Russia, India and Japan are increasingly using composites in submarines, jets, sonar domes and truck components. U.S., U.K., India, and China are the major spenders on defense equipment and maintenance of army. M80 Stileto is the largest U.S. naval vessel built using carbon-fiber composites. Armored vehicles have conventionally used steel armor for protection; however, weight of these large trucks creates logistical problems. Therefore, the adoption of CFRP is increasing in these vehicles. U.S. DOD aims to replace UH-60 Black Hawk with Bell Helicopter’s V-280 which incorporates carbon fibers in its wings, fuselage, and tail. The need for agility at the time of sudden attacks and upgrading the defense technologies has led to the shift from conventional materials to fiber reinforced materials, which is anticipated to propel the carbon fiber reinforced plastic market during the forecast period.

By Geography – Segment Analysis

Europe region held the largest share in the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market in 2019 up to 34%, owing to the increasing defense, and aerospace sectors in the region. The CFRP are particularly attractive to defense applications because of their exceptional strength, better stiffness-to-density ratios and superior physical properties. Also, CFRP provides relatively stronger and stiffer fibers in a tough resin matrix. According to International Trade Administration (ITA), the Norwegian Government presented a core defense spending budget of USD 6.9 billion in 2019. The Norwegian defense budget accounted for 1.62% of Norway’s GDP in 2018. French civil aerospace industry in 2018 grew to €50.36 billion, out of total non-consolidated aerospace and defense aerospace revenues of €65.4 billion. This is a 1.2% increase over 2017. Also, France has put forth an agreement with the U.K government of $2.1 billion to build a prototype combat drone, which will further boost CFRP market growth. Thus, the increasing aerospace and defense industry in Europe is likely to influence the growth of the carbon fiber reinforced plastic market in Europe.

Drivers – Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) Market

Growing Wind Power Sector

As a consequence of drastic increase in energy demand, the conventional sources of energy are depleting very fast. Hence, the need to expand and utilize the renewable energy sources like wind power is growing. The wind power sector is increasing, as use of renewable energy sources results in less emission of greenhouse and other harmful gases such as SO2. The modern wind turbine are being increasingly used in wind power sector as they are cost-effective, more reliable and have scaled up in size to multi-megawatt power ratings. Wind Energy installations in APAC increased by 23.6%. This region is set to witness high growth for wind energy equipment and materials majorly driven by commitments of government of India and China towards green energy. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic is used primarily in the spar, or structural element, of wind blades longer than 45m/148 ft, both for land-based and offshore systems. Carbon fiber has known benefits for reducing wind turbine blade mass due to the significantly improved stiffness, strength, and fatigue resistance per unit mass compared to fiberglass. Due to the increasing adoption of wind power energy source, the demand for the carbon fiber reinforced plastic is also increasing, which acts as a driver for the carbon fiber reinforced plastic market during the forecast period.

Stringent Government Regulation on Emission

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics are being extensively used in the automotive industries to reduce fuel consumption as well as emissions and to manufacture lightweight vehicles. Several governments across the world have imposed stringent standard emission and fuel economy regulations for vehicles. These standard regulations have compelled automotive OEMs to increase the use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics to assist in increasing the fuel economy of a vehicle while ensuring safety and performance. The emission regulation for light-duty cars such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) and Greenhouse Gas Emission standards sets fuel consumption standards for the vehicles. These regulations by the governments have made sure that the car manufacture henceforth might need to be manufacturing much lighter vehicles to obey as per these norms, which acts as a driver for the carbon fiber reinforced plastic market during the forecast period.

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Challenges – Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) Market

High Cost of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics

The cost of the carbon fiber reinforced plastics is at times supposedly higher. When compared with other traditional materials such as steel and aluminum, lightweight materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) and glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) are costly. Composites of carbon fiber cost almost 1.5 to five times more than steel. High cost of fiber production inhibits large volume deployment. Therefore, precursor and processing costs need to be reduced. The high price of carbon fibers in many applications constrains the potential use of composites. Hence, the high cost of carbon fiber reinforced plastics may hinder with the carbon fiber reinforced plastics market growth during the forecast period. However, cost effective production methods coupled with high volume processing, assembly techniques and automation processes will lead to reduction of price in the near future.

Market Landscape

Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market. In 2019, the market of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) has been consolidated by the top five players accounting for 40% of the share. Major players in the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market are SGL Carbon SE, Teijin Ltd., Toray Industries Inc., Cytec Industries Inc., Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd., Farmosa Plastics Corporation, Nippon Carbon Co. Ltd., DowAksa Advanced Composites Holdings BV, Hexcel Corporation, and Hyosung Advanced Materials.

Acquisitions/Technology Launches

In May 2016, Dowaska, Under secretariat of Defense Industries (SSM) and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) have jointly opened The DowAksa Global Composites Center with an objective to advance Turkey’s carbon fiber and other reinforcement composites manufacturing mainly for aerospace applications in both defense and commercial aviation and the infrastructure, marine, wind energy and transportation sector.

In March 2018, Toray Industries, Inc. developed a new fabrication technology for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics that enables both improved dimensional accuracy and energy savings.

In November 2018, Toray Industries, Inc. developed new carbon fibers that realized both higher tensile strength and tensile modulus named “TORAYCA® MX series”.

In September 2019, Teijin Limited acquired Benet Automotive, a leading automotive composite and component supplier in the Czech Republic. The acquisition benefits Teijin’s composite technologies business.

In December 2019, SGL Carbon and Solvay entered into a joint development agreement to develop composite materials based on large-tow intermediate modulus carbon fiber for aerospace primary structures.

In May 2020, Toray Industries, Inc. developed a high tensile modulus carbon fiber and thermoplastic pellets that are ideal for injection molding employing. Toray announced to push ahead with research and development to commercialize the fiber and pellets within the next three years.

Key Takeaways

Europe dominates the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market, owing to the increasing demand and production of lightweight vehicles in the region. According to OICA, in 2018 the production of light commercial vehicles has increased by 2.5 % in Europe.

The carbon fiber reinforced plastics are being widely used to manufacture sport equipment such as golf shafts, bicycles, skis, surfboards, helmets, racquets, hockey sticks, baseball bats and several other products. Its low maintenance cost and corrosion resistance properties are the major factor driving the market in the sports sector.

The properties associated with CFRP such as good conductivity, flame resistance, high strength and vibration damping has facilitated their inclusion in several electrical and electronic products such as household appliances, audio systems, enclosures, electrical installations, interconnects, brushes and EMI shielding.

The X-Ray permeability, biological inertness coupled with high strength has paved the way for CFRP applications in Medical sector. Imaging equipment, orthopedics and surgical outfits are some of the common medical devices that employ CFRP.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic most of the countries has gone under lockdown, due to which operations of various industries such as automotive, defense, and aerospace has been negatively affected, which is hampering the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) market growth.

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