Over the last decade, the use of graphite in batteries has increased significantly. In terms of weight, graphite is the second-largest component in lithium-ion batteries. Each lithium-ion battery requires 10 to 20 times more graphite than lithium. According to an independent research firm, in 2012, around 80% of graphite used in batteries was for lithium-ion batteries. There has been a steady increase in the popularity of lithium-ion batteries in the automobile industry. For instance, Tesla Motors, Inc., an automotive company based in the U.S., has announced plans to invest USD 5 billion in a new lithium-ion battery factory. This is expected to increase demand for natural graphite by up to 37% by 2020. The factory is expected to start production by 2017. Moreover, the rapid increase in the use of lithium-ion batteries in Smartphones, laptops, tablets, portable media players, and power tools is expected to further drive the graphite market.
In terms of revenue, Asia Pacific was the largest market for graphite in 2013, accounting for 67.4% of the global market share, followed by Europe and North America with market shares of 14.1% and 10.4% respectively. From 2014 to 2020, the Asia Pacific graphite market is expected to grow at a CAGR 4.0%, owing to increasing demand from countries such as India and China. Increasing the use of graphite in the automotive industry is also expected to propel the growth of the Asia Pacific market. The market share of North America is expected to decrease to 10.3% while that of Europe is expected to increase to 14.2% by 2020.
The graphite market is bifurcated on the basis of form (natural graphite and synthetic graphite), form of synthetic graphite (graphite electrode, carbon fiber, graphite blocks, graphite powder, and others), and end use (electrode, refractory, lubricant, foundry, battery, and others).
In terms of revenue, the synthetic graphite segment accounted for the largest market share of USD 12.49 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach USD 16.06 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 3.7% for the period 2014–2020.
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Under the synthetic graphite segment, the graphite electrode segment (the largest segment in 2013) increased by 3.0% CAGR during 2010 – 2013 to reach USD 5.06 billion in 2013.
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Under the regional segment, the Asia Pacific graphite market (the largest market in 2013) increased by 3.8% CAGR during 2010–2013 to reach USD 9.17 billion in 2013.
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Some of the major companies operating in the global graphite market are Triton Minerals Ltd., Lamboo Resources Limited, Mason Graphite, Focus Graphite Inc., Energizer Resources Inc., Northern Graphite Corporation, Alabama Graphite Corp., Flinders Resources Ltd., Syrah Resources Limited, SGL Carbon SE, GrafTech International Holdings Inc, Graphite India Limited, Nippon Graphite Industries, Co., Ltd., Asbury Graphite Mills, Inc, Showa Denko K.K., and Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd.
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