A few multinational giants hold a sway over the global market for silicon metal. This makes it highly consolidated. However, the market is still witnessing healthy competition owing to savvy players pouring money into product development to come up with innovative, differentiated ones. They are also seen focusing on supply chain integration in order to stay ahead of their rivals. As a result, most manufacturers in the market own quart mining units and downstream production units, apart from silicon manufacturing assets.
A report by Transparency Market Research predicts the market for silicon metal to rise at a steady CAGR of 5.2% over the course of the forecast period starting from 2016 and ending in 2024. Expanding at this pace, the market is expected to attain a value of US$3.4 bn by 2024-end. Vis-à-vis volume of demand, the market is expected to soar at a CAGR of 4.3% between 2016 and 2024.
At present, silicon metals are finding maximum application in making aluminum alloys. This is because silicon helps to enhance thermal conductivity, bring about castability and machinability, and improve corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys. Volume-wise, aluminum alloys made from silicon accounted for about 40.0% share in the market in 2015. Geography-wise, Asia Pacific holds a leading share in the market for silicon metals because of the economic growth, abundant availability of raw materials, and affordable labor and power. Besides, initiatives by the governments in various nations to promote alternative solar power, has also filliped demand because solar panels require silicon metal. In 2015, Asia Pacific held a substantial 40.0% share in the global market.
Rising Thrust on Solar Energy Proves a Boon for Market
Numerous factors are serving to promote the market for silicon metal. Foremost among them is the rising thrust on renewable energies such as solar power both to combat pollution and to complement the existing production of power in the face of growing demand. Governments across nations, particularly those in the large and populous economies of India and China in Asia, are providing various incentives to promote the clean form of energy. This is pushing up demand for silicon metals since they find usage in making solar panels which are used to trap the heat energy of the sun.
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Transportation and Construction Sector Buoys Market too
A burgeoning transportation industry too is having a positive impact on the market for silicon metal because aluminum alloys made from silicon find usage in it. The rebounding building and construction sector and booming personal care, plastics, electronics, and textiles industry all over the world is also proving beneficial for the market since silicon metal finds usage in manufacturing the different chemicals used in those. Adds the lead analyst of the TMR report, “The application of silicon metal in building semiconductors – which are the building blocks of electronics – will likely gain tremendous traction in the next couple of years because of certain favorable properties of silicon, namely high resistance to temperature, low processing and extraction costs, easy doping, and reduced current leakage.”