Silicon Carbide Market Overview
Silicon Carbide Market size is estimated to reach US$2.7 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period 2022-2027. Silicon carbide is a hard, dark, insoluble, crystalline compound that is used as an abrasive or as an electrical resistor in objects exposed to high temperatures like in batteries, engines and generators. The compound has high refractive index than diamond and is manufactured by sintering, reaction bonding, crystal growth and chemical vapor deposition. There are various types of silicon carbide, but sintered silicon carbide is the most commonly used as it is highly corrosion resistant and shock resistant, and for such properties, it is highly demanded in the automotive sector. Silicon carbide besides industrial application is also used as catalyst to support oxidation of hydrocarbons like n-butane to maleic anhydride and also as fuel particle in nuclear reactor like in light water reactor. The rapid developments in the electronics sector, increase in usage of semiconductors and rising demand for electric hybrid vehicles are acting as drivers for the silicon carbide market. However, the high cost of producing silicon carbide and constant issues relating to appropriate packaging for silicon carbide devices which causes damage to them has hampered the growth of the Silicon carbide industry.
The unfavorable effects left by COVID-19 harmed the functionality of various industrial sectors like automobile, construction, metalworking etc. The lockdown and other social restrictions implemented by governments across the world caused a reduction in the productivity of these industrial sectors. For instance, there was a shut down in the automotive industry and all types of construction activities were banned keeping in mind public health. Silicon carbide is used in the automobile sector for brakes, clutches and batteries for E-vehicles and also it is used in the manufacturing of steel which is used in the construction sector. The decline in production activities in these sectors during the pandemic has negatively impacted the silicon carbide industry. As per the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturing, in 2020 there was a 16% global decline in vehicles production i.e., less than 78 million vehicles, with all major producing regions like the U.S, Brazil, Germany having a sharp decline of 11% to 44%. As per International Construction and Infrastructure Surveys, the construction and infrastructure activities across all regions went down in Q1 of 2020, with the Asia-pacific region showing the sharpest contraction.
The report: “Silicon Carbide Market – Forecast (2022 – 2027)”, by IndustryARC, covers an in-depth analysis of the following segments of the Silicon Carbide Industry.
By Product Type – Sintered
silicon carbide, Nitride bonded silicon carbide, Reaction bonded silicon
carbide, and Others.
By End-user – Automotive (Brakes, Clutches, E-vehicle battery, Others), Mechanical Pumps (Centrifugal Pumps, Submersible Pumps, Gear Pumps, Others), Electronic & Semi-Conductors, Energy (Solar Energy, Wind Energy), Steel Manufacturing, Aerospace (Nozzles, Turbine Engine, Combustor Liner, Other), and Others.
By Geography - North America (USA, Canada, Mexico), Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherland, Spain, Russia, Belgium, Rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Rest of APAC), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Rest of South America), Rest of the World (Middle East, Africa).
- Silicon carbide has excellent thermal shock resistance, which makes it useful in many industries. Hence such high industrial applicability will positively impact the demand of the silicon carbide market.
- Due to the high demand for power electronic products like ultra-fast and high voltage light-emitting diodes, MOSFETs and thyristors for high power switching will increase silicon carbide demand in the electronics sector as it has unique electrical property as a semi-conductor.
- Asia-pacific dominates the silicon carbide market, due to the increasing demand for advanced and upgraded technology across various sectors like electronic, automotive, defense in countries like China, India, Japan.
Figure: Asia-Pacific Silicon Carbide Market Revenue, 2021-2027
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Silicon Carbide Market Segment – By Product Type
Sintered silicon carbide held the largest share in the silicon carbide market in 2021, with a share of over 35%. This is owing to the factors like good wear resistance in sliding & abrasive environments, excellent corrosion resistance in most chemical environments and resistance to wear and thermal shock. Hence due to such high properties, this silicon carbide type has high industrial applicability like in the automobile sector it is used for automotive water pumps for vehicles and trucks, in the chemical process industry it is used in heat tube exchangers, in the defense sector is used in making composite protection systems, bulletproof vests. Hence the automotive industry is the main user of this silicon carbide type. For instance, as per the U.S Bureau of Economic analysis in 2021, motor vehicle production in the U.S increased up to 16% with truck output showing maximum volume. As the production volume of motor vehicles increases, the demand for sintered silicon carbide to be used in automotive water pumps will also increase.
Silicon Carbide Market Segment – By End User
The automotive segment held the largest share in the silicon carbide market in 2021, with a share of over 40%. This is attributable to factors like high shock resistance, high physical hardness, and performance of silicon carbide, which makes it to be used highly in automobile applications like high-performance ceramic brakes and clutches. Besides this, silicon carbide is also used to reduce friction, emission, and harmonics in automobiles. Hence with the rapid development in the automotive sector and increase in production of vehicles in major regions, the demand for silicon carbide for brakes and clutch systems in the automotive sector will also increase. For instance, as per the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturing, the global production volume of vehicles increased to 57 million in 2021 from 52 million in 2020, with Asia accounting for 50% of production. As per European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the production and registration of passenger cars in the EU increased by 53.4% in 2021 with strong volume seen in Spain, France, Germany where mostly manual cars are used in Europe. With such an increase in the production volume of vehicles, the demand for silicon carbide in the automotive sector in these regions will also increase.
Silicon Carbide Market Segment – By Geography
Asia-pacific held the largest share in the silicon carbide market in 2021, with a share of over 45%. This is attributable to factors like rising economies and an increase in investments in various industrial sectors especially in the automobiles sector for increasing production volume. For instance, as per the Indian Brand and Equity Foundation, the automobile sector in India attracted FDI worth US$30.51 billion between April 2000 and June 2021. As per the 2021 report of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association on global vehicle production, China produces 32% of 74 million cars manufactured worldwide followed by Europe 23%, Japan & Korea 16%. Hence as the automobile sector in China, India, Japan & Korea is rapidly developing, and China is increasing its production of E-vehicles, so this has led to an increase in demand for silicon carbide in these sectors in the Asia Pacific region
Silicon Carbide Market Drivers
Increase in Demand for E-vehicles
Silicon carbide holds high usage for various automotive application and particularly for electric vehicles battery, as the semiconductors made from silicon carbide provides much power to electric batteries. As the technologies are advancing and the demand for polluting free vehicles i.e., electric hybrid vehicles is increasing, hence this will positively impact the silicon carbide industry in terms of growth. As per European Automobile Manufacturing Association, the production for e-vehicles increased up to 11% in 2020 from 3% in 2019 in the EU, as per International Council for Clean Transportation report 2021, various motor companies like Xpeng Motors, Nio, Volvo have set up large e-vehicle factories in central and south-eastern China. Hence such an increase in demand and production of e-vehicles will increase the demand for silicon carbide in the automotive sector as they are used for making on-board chargers and inverters for EV and plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV).
Increase usage of semi-conductors
Silicon carbide is widely used as a semiconductor due to its electrical properties like high thermal shock resistance, ability to work at high temperature and super chemical inertness. Hence due to such properties, the semiconductors made of silicon carbide processes electricity more efficiently, and due to this benefit, it is of particular interest for electric car manufacturers as the semi-conductor enable fast charging. With the increase in usage of semi-conductors in industrial sectors especially automotive, the demand for silicon carbide in these sectors will also increase. For instance, the Semi-Conductor Industry Association the global sale of the semiconductor industry in 2020 stood at USD$ 439 billion dollars showing a 6.5% increase as compared to the 2019 figure i.e., USD$ 412.3 billion. Hence such an increase in sales volume of semi-conductors will have a positive impact on the growth of the silicon carbide market.
Silicon Carbide Market Challenge
Improper Production Capacity
Silicon carbide is not available as a natural mineral therefore its doping process is difficult. Hence the processing and manufacturing cost is very high and challenging as it require a longer period for manufacturing, high-dust free rooms, and high tech machines which cost millions of dollars. Hence such factors have caused inefficiency in the production capacity of silicon carbide due to which its devices like semiconductor was less produced and supplied to industries, especially automobile industry. For instance in first quarter of 2021, major automobile companies like Nissan, Honda, Toyota faced shortage in supply of semi-conductors which negatively impacted the company's production with Honda suspending its production of Fit & Jaz model in UK and Nissan cutting production of its recently launched Note model in Japan. Such high cost leading to inefficient production of silicon carbide has negatively impact the growth of silicon carbide market.
Silicon Carbide Industry Outlook
The companies develop a strong regional presence and strengthen their market position, continuously engage in mergers and acquisitions. Silicon Carbide top 10 companies include:
- Infineon Technologies
- Cree Inc
- Fuji electronic
- Toshiba Corporation
- General Electric
- STM Electronics
- Hitachi Ltd
- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
- Alpha Power Solution Ltd
In 2020, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation launched a new series of silicon-carbide metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors. Hence this new series will help in reducing power consumption and physical size of power supply systems such as on electric vehicle onboard charges and photovoltaic power systems.
In 2021 Qorvo announced its acquisition of United Silicon Carbide and with this acquisition, Qorvo will be able to expand its reach in fast-growing electric vehicles, industrial power, circuit protection, renewable and data center power.
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