Although the current world economic development is facing many crises, the demand for carbon fiber is still heating up. In addition to the traditional aerospace sector, new markets for carbon fiber such as automobiles, wind turbine blades and pressure vessels are emerging. Experts from China Epoxy Resin Industry Association (www.epoxy-e.cn) predict that the world's carbon fiber demand will grow rapidly at a rate of about 13% every year, and the global demand for polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fiber will reach 50,000 tons next year. , will reach 60,000 tons by 2012, and the demand is expected to reach 100,000 tons by 2018. The 7 largest carbon fiber manufacturers (Toray, Toho, Mitsubishi Rayon, SGL, Hexcel, Cytec and Zoltek), have announced plans to expand production by 78% in the next 3-5 years, with a total investment of EUR 879.7 million (USD 1.3 billion) ). In the short term it appears that carbon fiber will be in short supply, but by 2012 supply may exceed demand. The demand for pitch-based carbon fiber in the industrial field is also growing, especially in the development of environment-related industries. Its market size is about 3,000 tons, and it is expected to expand to 4,000 tons by 2012. Pitch-based carbon fibers can be classified into two types, isotropic and mesophase, according to the crystalline state of the pitch. Isotropic heat resistance, chemical resistance, and sliding properties are excellent, and the mesophase has mechanical properties such as high strength and high modulus. In addition to the rapid increase in demand for large-scale semiconductor wafers and silicon substrate manufacturing furnaces for solar power generation systems, it is also used as an indispensable thermal insulating material in the firing furnaces of PAN-based carbon fibers and CFRP. Japan's Toray Industries Co., Ltd., Teijin Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Co., Ltd. plan to join forces to mass-produce recycled carbon fiber to promote the recycling of high-strength and lightweight materials. These three companies jointly hold 70% of the global carbon fiber market share.
Japan's "Chemical Economy" reported in a temporary supplement in March 2008 that carbon fiber manufacturers have successively increased production capacity. Taking PAN (polyacrylonitrile)-based carbon fiber as an example, in addition to the world's largest Toray, which will increase production lines in three bases in Japan, the United States and France, Toho Tenax is also building new production lines in Japan and Germany. In addition, Kure Yu and Japan Graphite Fiber, two pitch-based carbon fiber producers using coal pitch and petroleum pitch as raw materials, also expanded their production capacity in 2009. Carbon fiber companies are taking energy and environmental issues as an opportunity to expand market demand. Compared with metal, carbon fiber has excellent properties such as strength and modulus, heat resistance, electrical conductivity, and wear resistance, and is widely used in sports and leisure, general industry, aerospace and other fields. According to experts from China Epoxy Resin Industry Association (www.epoxy-e.cn), the world demand for PAN-based carbon fiber is estimated to be about 30,000 tons, and at an annual rate of 13%, it is expected to increase to nearly 50,000 tons by 2010. For this demand expansion, Japanese manufacturers have proposed plans to expand production capacity since last year. Toray increased production capacity in Japan at the beginning of 2008, and increased the production capacity of its subsidiaries in Europe and America by the end of 2008. In addition, Toray plans to set up special equipment (1,000 tons/year) for special fabrics with excellent processability in July 2009, and the investment in this expansion of production capacity is about 71 billion yen. The increased demand for industrial use has expanded the Group's production capacity to 25,000 tons per year by the end of 2010, increasing its market share from the current 34% to 38%. Teijin Group's Toho Tenax invested 10.7 billion yen to increase its production capacity in Japan by about 60% in April 2008. TTE, a subsidiary in Germany, will also expand production capacity in August 2009. The goal is to strengthen earning power.
Kureha Company, which has a market share of 50% in the field of carbon fiber molded thermal insulation materials, announced that it will increase its thermal insulation material equipment in China in stages by 2012. After reaching production, it will expand its production capacity by about three times compared with the current production capacity and increase sales. 1 times, about 12 billion yen. In recent years, especially in Asia and Europe, the increase in the number of air passengers has boosted the demand for new aircraft. The Airbus Global Market Forecast estimates that between 2006 and 2025, aircraft operators will need 22,700 passenger and freighter aircraft. These OEMs are leading the huge growth in the use of structural composite materials, including carbon fiber, the latest application of which is the B787 and A380 aircraft. According to experts from China Epoxy Resin Industry Association (www.epoxy-e.cn), the aerospace field is the traditional market for carbon fiber in the world. The use of composite materials will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 12% in the next few years, and is estimated to increase from 6,820 tons in 2007 to more than 10,000 tons in 2010 and 13,000 tons in 2012. As of December 2007, the Airbus A380 had received 189 orders. The A380 is a large jet airliner with 22% carbon fiber composites used in its structure (including the main structure). As of mid-January 2008, Boeing announced orders for 857 B787s. The sole supplier of carbon fiber/epoxy prepreg in B787 is Toray in Tokyo, and the two companies have signed an 18-year supply contract for Torayca prepreg through 2021. The contract value for the main structure of the 787 was reported to be as high as 2.03 billion euros ($3 billion). The new super-large passenger aircraft, Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, both use epoxy-impregnated carbon fiber or carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as the main structural material.