Considerable Global Demand for Solar Energy to Aid High Purity Quartz Market Growth
The application of high purity quartz in an array of end-use industries has expanded at an impressive rate over the past two to three decades. High purity quartz is extensively used for a wide range of applications, including solar, semiconductor, optics, and lighting. As research and development activities within the high purity quartz market are underway in full swing, new potential applications of the same have periodically emerged over the past decade due to which, the global demand for high purity quartz is ascending. In the current scenario, owing to mounting environmental concerns and growing emphasis on utilizing greener sources of energy, the demand for solar components and energy has witnessed exponential growth, which in turn has directly impacted the growth of the global high purity quartz market.
As high purity quartz is the main raw material that is used to produce polysilicon, monocrystalline silicon, solar cells, optical fiber, quartz glass, and integrated circuit boards, the demand has experienced consistent growth, particularly from the developed regions. For several years, the developed regions have remained at the forefront as far as innovations pertaining to high purity quartz is concerned. However, due to advancements in technology, growing investments in the developing regions, such as India and China, and rapid industrialization in these regions, the quality of high purity quartz processing techniques have improved by a considerable margin. At the back of these factors, the global high purity quartz market is expected to attain a market value of US$ 1.5 Bn by the end of 2030.
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Widening Applications of High Purity Quartz to Propel Market Growth
The global demand for high purity quartz has experienced consistent growth over the past decade and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. In the current scenario, high purity quartz is increasingly being used in the lighting industry, owing to the exceptional physical and functional properties. The desirable optical transmission properties and ability to withstand high temperatures without any deformities are the two main factors due to which, the adoption of high purity quartz across the lighting industry has increased at a consistent pace.
While the lighting sector is expected to account for a considerable market share, by application, the semiconductor sector is projected to have the highest market share. The flourishing solar and semiconductor industries are expected to provide fertile grounds for the growth of the high purity quartz market. The growing emphasis on deploying renewable energy has played an imperative role in driving the demand for energy-efficient solar PV and semiconductors– two major applications of high purity quartz. Apart from these major applications, high purity quartz is increasingly being used for a spectrum of niche applications, including production of bioactive glass and fillers.
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Advent of New Processing Technologies to Boost Demand for High Purity Quartz Market
As high purity quartz continues to gain notable popularity across different industrial domains, manufacturers operating in the current high purity quartz market landscape are expected to focus on improving the quality of their products by exploring the potential benefits of using new processing technologies. Market participants are increasingly investing resources in the development of new technologies and strengthen their market position. For instance, the multi-channel laser sorting technology patented by TOMRA, a leading manufacturer of quartz, is expected to improve the overall quality of the end-product by ~20%. Another industry leader, Quartz Corp, in January 2019, announced that the company is largely focusing on improving the existing thermal processing technology to enhance the overall quality and consistency of high-quality quartz.
High Purity Quartz Market to Overcome Supply Chain Hiccups amid COVID-19 Crisis
The global COVID-19 pandemic is expected to clip the wings of the global high purity quartz market particularly in 2020, as government lockdowns, trade restrictions, and uncertain transportation regulations in different countries are some of the factors that have created multiple hurdles across the supply chain. The lockdown imposed across the core industrial sectors in China in the initial phases of 2020 has affected the supply of high purity quartz in the first half of 2020. The economic restructuring and growth in the number of industrial development projects across India and China over the past decade have played a key role in providing a boost to the market growth. However, in these testing times, the volume of high purity quartz that is being manufactured is expected to be lower compared to the normal numbers.
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The global high purity quartz market is expected to grow at a steady CAGR of ~6% during the forecast period. The market growth can be primarily attributed to the soaring demand for high purity quartz for various applications, including the production of semiconductors and solar cells. The growing emphasis on utilizing renewable energy due to mounting environmental concerns is another factor that is expected to generate considerable demand for high purity quartz during the forecast period. Market players are expected to improve the quality and consistency of their products by upgrading existing processing technologies.
High Purity Quartz Market: Overview
- The industry standard for high purity quartz is defined by a product marketed as IOTA, mined by Sibelco. IOTA has set a high purity benchmark for the rest of the high purity quartz market. It contains 20 ppm per million as a standard, equating to 99.998% of SiO2. The IOTA brand is the industry standard for high-quality fused quartz products.
- High purity quartz is a vital industrial component used in the production of high-end electronics applications, semiconductors, and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. None of these products can be manufactured without reliable supply of consistent-purity high purity quartz.
- High purity quartz is geologically rare and costlier than the lower-grade material. Deposits of high purity quartz are rare. The largest known occurrence is in Alaskite igneous rocks near Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and the U.S. Only a few deposits of quartz can present contamination levels lower than 0.003%. Currently, two or three large-sized companies based in the U.S. and Europe produce high purity quartz.
Key Growth Drivers of High Purity Quartz Market
- High purity quartz products are ideal for usage in the semiconductor industry, due to their superior quality and excellent purity. High purity quartz is employed in the semiconductor industry to produce crucibles and quartz glass products such as windows, rods, and tubes. High purity quartz is also employed in the production of silicon metal, which is the base for semiconductor wafers manufactured through the Czochralski process.
- Key countries engaged in the production of semiconductors are Japan, Germany, South Korea, and California. The Quartz Corp., a U.S.-based company, supplies high purity quartz to these countries through the strategic placement of offices in the U.S. and Europe; and the presence of sales and marketing staff in Asia. Demand for high purity quartz products in the semiconductor industry is closely related to the construction of new fabrication plants that employ most of the semiconductor-based materials in the production of monocrystalline silicon (crucibles). High purity quartz is also used in the manufacture of solar or semiconductor wafer. Consequently, polysilicon is melted in a quartz crucible. A crystal is drawn out of the melt, which is sliced into wafers.
- High purity quartz enables parts of the semiconductor to withstand the extreme temperatures of wafer processing. Rise in usage of new-generation wafers in semiconductors is driving the demand for high purity quartz, which are employed in the manufacture of these wafers. Semiconductors are primarily used in the electronics industry. They help enhance the performance of products. This is projected to fuel the demand for high purity quartz in the semiconductor industry over the next few years.
Key Challenges for High Purity Quartz Market
- High purity quartz is a highly important mineral, especially for microelectronics and electronics industries. However, it faces the issue of impurity. This has prompted several electronics companies to buy the low purity grade or find substitutes.
- High prices of high purity quartz and ultra-high purity quartz act as a restraint of the market. Prices of low-to-medium-grade high purity quartz material typically range from US$ 300 per ton to US$ 500 per ton. The price of high purity grade stands at US$ 5,000 per ton. Ultra-high-purity grade can even be priced higher than US$ 5,000 per ton.
- Major producers of high purity quartz are privately held and sell the product on a contract basis. Therefore, prices of high purity quartz are high. Purity and demand levels are important price determinants, with the material sold primarily to Asia-based crucible manufacturers. Most of these are located in China.
Lucrative Opportunities for Players in High Purity Quartz Market
- The electronics industry entails the manufacture of industrial and consumer electronics products such as computers, television sets, telecommunication equipment, and smartphones. High purity quartz is primarily used in the semiconductor industry to produce products such as electrical power systems, propulsion systems, and rectifiers. These are important components of electronic devices.
- The global electronics industry has been expanding rapidly since the last few years, owing to the rise in demand for electronics in developing economies such as India, China, and South Korea. Furthermore, increase in consumer spending in developing countries, higher functionality of smartphones, and growth in usage of electric equipment in automobiles are driving the demand for electronic products. This, in turn, is propelling the high purity quartz market.
- Advancements in semiconductor technologies are leading to higher functionalities of smartphones and other equipment used for Internet connectivity. This is driving the demand for high purity quartz.
Asia Pacific Dominates High Purity Quartz Market
- Asia Pacific is a highly attractive region of the global high purity quartz market. China is likely to hold leading share of the market in the region during the forecast period. Wide industrial manufacturing base, high availability of raw materials, broad consumer base, and large population are some of the key factors driving the demand for high purity quartz in the country.
- North America is another vital consumer of high purity quartz, with the presence of a large number of players as well as manufacturing facilities in the region. The Quartz Corp. is a prominent supplier of high purity quartz sand from sites in Spruce Pine (the U.S.), which is the source of the world’s purest quartz; and Drag, Norway.
Leading Players in High Purity Quartz Market
- The global high purity quartz market is dominated by only a few players. Two producers — The Quartz Corp. and Covia Holdings Corporation — constitute more than 80% share of the global production.
- Key players operating in the global high purity quartz market are
- The Quartz Corp.
- Jiangsu Pacific Quartz Co., Ltd.
- High Purity Quartz Pty Ltd
- Russian Quartz
- I-Minerals Inc
- Creswick Quartz
- Nordic Mining ASA.
- Most companies focus on improvement and innovation in the manufacture of high purity quartz.