Carbon fiber is a new generation of reinforced fiber, mainly used in the fields of aerospace, wind power, automotive, sports and leisure. Industrial applications like wind power, automotive and pressure vessel account for the largest demand for carbon fiber, which is more than 60%, followed by aerospace, with enhanced application and hence steadily increased demand; the growth of demand from sports and leisure has been relatively slow. The global carbon fiber demand maintained a CAGR of 14.1% in 2008-2012, and hit 54,500 tons in 2012.
In 2010-2012, as the demand for carbon fiber has been recovered, global leading carbon fiber manufacturers have accelerated the capacity expansion of carbon fiber. In 2012, the global carbon fiber capacity reached 114,000 tons, a year-on-year growth of 18.3%.
Due to the complex process and high technical content of carbon fiber production, global carbon fiber capacity is mainly concentrated in Japanese and U.S. enterprises. Japan''s Toray, Toho and Mitsubishi Rayon, mainly engaged in the production of PAN-based small-tow (=24K) carbon fiber, accounted for 2/3 of the global total small-tow carbon fiber capacity in 2012. Toray is the largest carbon fiber manufacturer in the world, with an annual capacity of 18,900 tons in 2012.
U.S. Zoltek and German SGL, mainly engaged in the production of large-tow (>24K) PAN-based carbon fiber, accounted for about 3/4 of the global large-tow carbon fiber capacity in 2012. Japanese Kureha, mainly engaged in the production of pitch-based carbon fiber, is the largest pitch-based carbon fiber producer in the world, with an annual capacity of 1,800 tons in 2012.
Stimulated by incentive policies and the gap between supply and demand, coupled with the gradual progress of industrial technology, China