China is the largest producer and exporter of silicon carbide in the world. As the demand from downstream sectors like metallurgy and refractories picked up in 2017, China’s output of silicon carbide soared by 38.5% to more than 1 million tons on the previous year. But by product, black silicon carbide and green silicon carbide polarize: output of the former had a 53.9% jump while that of the latter slumped by 65.2%. Steep fall in output of green silicon carbide (often used for cutting solar wafers) is largely due to the fact that it is massively replaced by diamond wire saws over the past two years, and the environmental inspection becomes increasingly stringent, causing some companies to reduce production or even stop production. It is predicted that Chinese silicon carbide market will sustain growth in 2018 but likely at a lower rate due to stricter environment protection requirements.
Silicon carbide is made from quartz sand and petroleum coke. Black silicon carbide price has been on the rise since 2017, climbing to over RMB8,000 per ton in January 2018, because of stricter oversight on environment protection and robust upstream and downstream demand. Green silicon carbide price otherwise went down compared with previous years with the slump in demand.
As technological progress is made, silicon carbide, a kind of new-generation wide band gap semiconductor, has been commercialized and aroused a tide of research and development and production globally. Semiconductor vendors like Cree, Infineon and Rohm have launched more advanced SiC based semiconductor devices and modules since 2016, broadening application of SiC semiconductors.
China follows behind closely and has been one of very few players engaged in both silicon carbide substrates and epitaxial materials. The country is marching towards a global leading role in semiconductor device design and manufacturing technologies. It as yet has built a relatively complete silicon carbide industry chain system.
In the future, silicon carbide semiconductor will find its way into power supply and photovoltaic industries, especially new energy vehicle field where it will be used more and promoted. The global silicon carbide power device market is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion in 2023, nearly four times larger than that in 2017.
Post time: Jul-01-2021