The silicon metal market has seen vast demand in the steelmaking and iron industry due to vast consumption of ferrosilicon. Substantial uptake of ferrosilicon in steel smelting is the one of them most prominent revenue generators in the silicon metal market. Advent of new methods of metallurgical grade silicon has helped in the production of higher quality products for end users in the silicon metal market. Revenues come from a range of applications, notably in making silicon chips, solar cells, and aluminum alloys. Over the past few years, rising consumptions of silicon metal in paints and coatings industries has helped propel growth of the market. The automotive manufacturing industry has harnessed the attractive mechanical and physical properties of silicon metal such as structural durability and dimensional stability. Widespread application of silicon-based aluminum alloys boosts the silicon metal market. In recent years, the market has seen new growth avenues from the demand for heat and corrosion resistant ferrous silicon alloys.
The silicon metal market stood at US$ 6.53 bn in 2018 and is projected to clock a CAGR of more than 4.98% from 2019 to 2027.
Growth of Automotive Sector Primarily Influential in Market’s Development
Silicon-based aluminum alloys are being increasing employed in automotive applications due to the need to reduce weight to decrease fuel consumption. Silicon and aluminum are alloyed together to form silumin. Depending on silicon content, the aluminum-silicon alloys are classified into different grades. In terms of volume, silicon content in silicon metal alloys varies from 3% to 50%. Addition of silicon metal to aluminum creates favorable properties such as high thermal conductivity, good castability, high corrosion resistance, and machinability. Silicon-based aluminum alloys are increasingly employed to replace heavy cast iron and steel components in the automotive industry. Increase in silicon content in aluminum silicon alloys improves wear-resistance in mild wear conditions. Silicon-based aluminum alloys have sufficient strength for structural durability, stability, and dent and crash resistance. Formability for bending, stretching, and deep drawing operations is increases. Moreover, growth of the automotive sector is projected to drive the silicon metal market during the forecast period. The automotive industry is a major consumers of silicon-based aluminum alloys. This, in turn, boosts the demand for silicon metal and aluminum in the automotive sector. Thus, increasing demand for automobiles and growing automotive sector are likely to augment the silicon metal market in the near future.
Fluctuating Raw Material Cost May Impeded Market Growth
The production cost of silicon metal depends on key variables such as cost of power, raw materials, labor, and transportation. The silicon metal producing industry requires long-term supply of stable power, as the production process consists ignition of an electric arc which is necessary for the reduction of quartz in silicon metal. The requirement of high temperature and high power makes the production process energy intensive, this significantly increases the overall production costs. Charcoal, quartzite, and wood chips are raw materials employed in the production of silicon metal and hence, silicon metal manufacturers prefer physiographic regions with significant deposits of quartz and charcoal. Thus, high production cost and market volatility are projected to hamper the silicon metal market.
Based on region, the global silicon metal market has been divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2018, as the region is an automotive and industrial hub. Moreover, the market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period due to the rise in demand for automobiles, portable electronics, and solar panels in the region, especially in developing countries such as China and India.
Key players operating in the global silicon metal market include The Dow Chemical Company, Elkem ASA, RUSAL, Ferroglobe, Wacker Chemie AG, RIMA Group, Simcoa Operations Pty Ltd, RW Silicium GmbH, MINASLIGAS, and Wynca Group.
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