Driven by wide-ranging applications of the metallurgical silicon and also refined silicon, used in several segments, including electronics manufacturing, sealants, adhesives, lubricants, coatings, polishes and cosmetics, the silicon metal market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 4.98% from 2019 to 2027, finds Transparency Market Research (TMR).
Silicon compounds have been initially commercialised on the back of wide application in steelmaking. However, the applications have expanded significantly during the past two centuries.
According to the global market intelligence company, the rise in demand for making vehicle bodies over the past few decades has helped propel strides of the market. In addition, a sizable demand for silicon has come from the uptake of silicon minerals in various commercial applications.
The rise in the production of multiple aluminium-silicon alloys to meet the global demand in vehicle production has steadily enriched the silicon metal market ecosystem, the research company said.
Photovoltaic grade polysilicon meets sizable demand
The last decade has made enormous strides in solar energy. Riding on the trend of penetration of renewable power and low-carbon energy has spurred the production of solar cells. The demand for high-purity polycrystalline silicon has thus grown steadily to meet the needs of solar PV cells. As a result, a vast majority of solar cells are made using silicon metals. The abundance of the metal and the high efficiencies of crystalline silicon are vital factors propelling its adoption in PV solar cells manufacturing, TMR said.
Lightweighting drives the automotive sector to metallurgical silicon
Automobile manufacturers worldwide are increasingly adopting materials that are lightweight to reduce fuel consumption. Silicon-based aluminium alloys have been looked at to replace steel and heavy metals in vehicles. Moreover, they can meet the environmental demands of the aerospace and automotive industry. All these are offering incremental opportunities to players in the silicon metal market.
In addition, the manufacturers are keen on improving the production process, especially with relation to optimising the cost of raw materials. This is a significant concern for them. Hence, they are looking for regions with large deposits of charcoal and quartz to reduce the impacts of volatility in prices.
According to TMR, the Asia Pacific region held the majority of shares in the global market in 2018. A few Asian economies emerging as the hub of automotive manufacturing and the rapid pace of industrialisation have fueled the demand for silicon metal in these applications. India and China are emerging as markets with promising avenues. Thailand is also showing promising growth avenues.
TMR said that the silicon alloys market has evolved rapidly on the back of the fact that silicon imparts substantial tribological properties to its alloys, particularly when mixed with iron and aluminium. Furthermore, extensive utilisation of ferrosilicon alloys in various forms, such as steel alloys, has helped market players reap substantial, consistent revenue gains. In addition, continuous advances made in refining silicon alloys have led to a plethora of materials with desired structural properties, thereby expanding the scope of competition in the silicon alloys market.
The growing adoption of advanced metal forming technologies will likely keep the landscape increasingly competitive.
Silicon carbide fibres market
The demand for silicon carbide fibres and their composites in the defence industry is propelling the market. Of the various product types, continuous silicon carbide fibres have been witnessing widespread demand worldwide, especially in the fast-growing nuclear power industry. Need for better materials to impart complex shapes in structures used in the defence industry is offering new prospects. Over the past few years, processing techniques used in the composite sector have advanced significantly, thus opening new opportunities for manufacturers in the silicon carbide fibres market, the research company said.
Courtesy: Transparency Market Research. NB: Photo is representational; courtesy: AMG Silicon.