Main trends of special graphite industry

Main trends of special graphite industry

January 09, 2023

1. Industry profit level

The main factor affecting the profit level of special graphite industry is the market supply and demand. In terms of demand, special graphite is a new material encouraged and supported by the national policy. The industry has a wide range of applications, and the downstream industries are in the rising stage. Therefore, the demand for special graphite will continue to grow; In terms of supply, because the industry has a high threshold of entry, the number of enterprises in the industry remains stable, and there will be no explosive growth in supply. The improvement of industrial policies, raw material costs, production processes, product technology and product added value of enterprises in the industry will become the key factors to determine the future profit level of enterprises.

Since 2017, with the in-depth implementation of China's supply side structural reform, the carbon industry, including the special graphite industry, has experienced a round of "reshuffle". A number of enterprises with small production scale, backward production technology, and high comprehensive energy consumption have been out of the market, while the demand of downstream industries continues to rise. The short-term imbalance between supply and demand has led to the continuous rise of the market price of special graphite, and the profit level of the carbon industry has improved significantly. Since 2019, with some special graphite enterprises adjusting their product structure, increasing environmental protection investment and restoring capacity, the supply and demand relationship of special graphite has been gradually restored, and the price of special graphite has fallen back and recovered its stability.

2. Development trend of special graphite industry

(1) Localization process provides development space for special graphite

At present, China's special graphite market is in short supply. In 2019, the actual output of domestic special graphite will be about 57000 tons, while the demand will exceed 100000 tons. In 2019, the import of special graphite from overseas will be about 30000 tons; The actual output of domestic special graphite in 2020 will be about 60000 tons, while the demand in 2020 will be about 105000 tons, also more than 100000 tons. In 2020, the import of special graphite from overseas will be about 22000 tons. The above situation will help to accelerate the localization process of special graphite materials and improve the level of industrial technology independence; It is conducive to maintaining the stability of the domestic special graphite market, and also provides opportunities and space for the development of domestic special graphite material manufacturers.

(2) Supply side reform brings new opportunities for special graphite industry

With the rapid development of downstream photovoltaic, lithium battery, aerospace and other industries, the market demand for new graphite materials in the middle and upper reaches continues to increase. Statistics show that the demand for special graphite in China will exceed 100000 tons in 2019 and 2020; The main demand comes from strategic emerging industries such as photovoltaic and lithium battery. On the supply side, affected by the supply side structural reform, the backward production capacity with non-standard management in the special graphite industry was eliminated; New projects need to go through strict environmental assessment procedures and project approval review. It is difficult to add new capacity, which further leads to the supply of special graphite will maintain a slow growth in the future. It is expected that the shortage of special graphite will be difficult to reverse in the short term.

(3) The rise of downstream industry expands the market space of special graphite

Special graphite is widely used in metallurgy, chemical industry, machinery, electronics, photovoltaic, lithium electricity, synthetic diamond, new energy, aerospace, military industry, nuclear engineering and other industries, and is one of the important resources that cannot be replaced by strategic emerging industries.

In the field of photovoltaic, special graphite is mainly used in the graphite thermal field for monocrystalline silicon growth furnace and graphite components for graphite thermal field for polycrystalline silicon ingot casting furnace. The rapid development of photovoltaic solar energy will directly drive the continuous growth of demand for special graphite; In the field of lithium battery, the anode material is mainly used as the main lithium storage material in the lithium battery, which can embed and de embed lithium ions during the charging and discharging process. The anode materials of lithium ion batteries can generally be divided into carbon materials and non carbon materials. The shipments of artificial graphite and natural graphite anode materials account for more than 90% of the total anode material industry, which is the mainstream of commercial application at this stage; In the field of EDM, the tool electrode as anode can be made of copper or graphite. Compared with the copper electrode, the graphite electrode has the characteristics of small density, easy machining, less stress and thermal deformation during machining, and small thermal expansion coefficient when the melting point is above 3000 ℃; In the field of nuclear power, the special graphite based high-temperature gas cooled reactor is a necessary graphite material. The high-temperature gas cooled reactor is recognized by the international nuclear community as a new type of nuclear reactor with the highest safety at present, and is the development trend of nuclear power installation in the future; In the casting industry, special graphite is also an irreplaceable material for making mold. It is a key component in the mold when used in the production of pure copper, bronze and brass in large-scale continuous casting; In addition, special graphite is also used to make sintering molds for diamond tools and cemented carbides, thermal field components of optical fiber drawing machines (heaters, holding cylinders, etc.), thermal field components of vacuum heat treatment furnaces (heaters, bearing frames, etc.), and precision graphite heat exchangers, mechanical sealing components, piston rings, bearings, rocket nozzles, etc.

With the accelerated development of China's semiconductor, lithium battery, photovoltaic solar energy, electric spark and mold processing, nuclear power and other industries, it is expected that the market demand for special graphite will grow rapidly in the future.

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