Carbon fibre reinforced plastics worth $64bn by 2030

Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) are a critical class of performance materials, but disruptions from COVID-19 have made the future of the industry uncertain.

In a new report, “The Future of Carbon Fiber Composites,” Lux Research outlines major challenges and opportunities carbon fibres and CFRPs face and how standardisation and recycling are enabling the CFRP market to grow to a $64 billion industry by 2030.

The carbon fibre industry is facing three major challenges: weakness in underlying markets, fiber standardization, and recycling.

“Enabling fiber standardization and recycling of fibers is key to expanding the CFRP market,” said Drishti Masand, research associate at Lux and lead author of the report. “Standardisation will be the key to enabling and expanding carbon fibre recycling into a more global and unified system, and to providing supply chain security. Recycled carbon fibre will expand the value of the market and create new adoption of CFRPs overall without cannibalizing existing applications. With a broader value chain and opportunities for more companies to manufacture with carbon fiber, the number of companies and industries looking at CFRP as a new material option will expand.”

“The Chinese government has already initiated precursor standardization, which could act to catalyze change across the entire industry for companies to remain competitive and maintain market share,” explained Masand.

Lux forecasts the CFRP market to grow to $64 billion by 2030, driven by multiple factors.

Slower-than-anticipated growth in the aerospace and automotive sectors has weakened overall forecasted demand in the space, setting overall growth back four to five years. The wind industry will become the largest consumer of CFRP by 2030 as demand for larger turbine blades for offshore applications grows.

Meanwhile, CFRP demand from the aerospace sector will take years to recover from the double hit of 737 Max production shutdowns and COVID-19 travel bans.

As a result, Lux Research predicts that thermoset composites will continue to dominate the market and grow at a faster rate than thermoplastics, with an anticipated 11% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) compared to thermoplastics’ 7% CAGR.

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