The needle coke industry is a highly concentrated market, which consists of around ten key players from around the globe. The U.S., China, and Japan are the countries majorly producing a vast quantity of needle coke. The U.S. accounts for a major percentage of petroleum-based needle coke production, and China is leading in terms of coal-based needle coke production. The two countries are leading the market owing to the market contribution made by their giant players.. The largest end-user segment of needle coke, steel industry, prefers petroleum-based needle coke because of its meaningfully graphitizing time and bake time, which is significantly required during the production of high-quality graphite electrodes for EAF steelmaking. Similarly, the battery manufacturers also prefer petroleum-based needle coke for the production of lithium-ion batteries driven by its high energy density that provides batteries longer driving ranges and longevity.
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Going by the prevailing trend of electric vehicles industry in 2018, production of EVs is estimated to triple in production by the end of 2020, leveraging the growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries in the coming years. The EV battery manufacturers have shifted from graphite to needle coke in the last couple of years, driven by its high performance. This has resulted in the exponential demand for needle coke generated from EV battery manufacturers of the ecosystem. Some of the vital EV battery manufacturers producing lithium-ion batteries are Nissan Global, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), and LG Chem Ltd.. Needle coke is most significantly used in the production of graphite electrodes for the EAF steelmaking process. This EAF steelmaking process is being adopted by emerging economies and has acquired a significant share in developed regions such as Western Europe and North America. China is the largest producer of steel in the world, and the Chinese government has adopted certain firm steps and regulations to curb pollution and has also introduced regulatory norms for the adoption of the EAF steelmaking technique in the country. China is effectively adopting the EAF technique for the production of steel, escalating the demand for needle coke in the China-based market.
Needle coke is categorized into two types: oil-based and coal-based needle coke. Petroleum-based needle coke is used to produce ultra-high purity (UHP) needle coke, which finds its applications in the production of the graphite electrode that is used for steel manufacturing in EAF. Petroleum-based needle coke is also used in the production of lithium-ion battery anodes, which are used in electric vehicles for delivering high performance. Some of the key players of U.S.-based petroleum needle coke are GrafTech International Ltd. and Phillip 66 Company.
Some of the key manufacturers producing petroleum-based needle coke are Phillips 66 Company, GrafTech International Ltd., and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation. GrafTech International Ltd. has a vertically integrated facility for the production of petroleum-based needle coke, building a strong foothold in the needle coke market. Currently, the designing of smart nanomaterials with chemical structure or properties responsive to the biocatalytic action of the enzyme is the recent promising field of research. Enzymes perform a crucial role in all metabolic and biological processes. Hence, smart nanomaterials can sense these enzymes in the host environment and act as a key tool for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.
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Pharmaceuticals is expected to be the dominant and fastest-growing end-use industries in the global smart nanomaterials market during the forecast period. The ever-increasing demand for smart nanomaterials in the field of medical devices for treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of diseases is expected to drive the demand during the forecast period. Smart nanomaterials, owing to their exceptional properties, are widely used in diagnostic techniques and anti-bacterial treatments. In addition, increasing population with increasing awareness concerning health issues and an upsurge in a number of diseases have led to drive the demand for smart nanomaterials in the pharmaceutical sector.
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