According to Lux Research, the CFRP market will be worth $14.6 billion in 2012.
The report predicts that polyolefin-precursor carbon fibre, combined with alternative thermal treatment mechanisms, will reduce cost from a baseline of $21.2/kg today to $10.5/kg at pilot-line scale in 2017. This will drive greater adoption of carbon composites across industries such as pressure vessels, marine, consumer electronics, construction, tooling, and medical.
“Aerospace and wind will duke it out for supremacy, while potentially high-volume automotive uses advance at a pedestrian pace,” says Ross Kozarsky, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled Stronger, Lighter, Faster … Cheaper? How Innovation Will Affect Carbon Fibre’s Cost and Market Impact.
The report also includes the following findings:
- cutting precursor costs is critical. Lux Research believes the industry’s best chance of achieving the carbon fibre price reduction necessary for high-volume applications like automotive is the employment of polyolefin-precursor carbon fibre, combined with plasma oxidation and carbonisation;
- fair winds for CFRP offshore. The trend in wind energy towards turbines blades over 40 m long will open up new opportunities for CFRP where other composites can’t compete – and will come sooner and faster in offshore wind than in onshore; and
- increasing partnerships between material developers and end users. The value of CFRP lies in lightweighting, part consolidation, lower maintenance costs and reduced material usage. Consequently, partnerships are critical to ensure material developers integrate final parts into end user systems.
Automotive companies select their composites partners.