Carbon fiber: the miracle material?

Energy transition will catapult carbon fiber demand upwards from today’s 120kTpa baseline, across wind turbine blades, more efficient vehicles and hydrogen tanks. This miracle material is 3-10x stronger than steel yet 70-80% lighter. Hence our 16-page note explores opportunities, economics, CO2 intensity, leading companies and one of the most amazing value chains of industrial civilization, which paradoxically depends upon fossil fuels.

What is carbon fiber? We explain the structure and market for this miracle material from first principles on pages 2-3.

All roads lead to carbon fiber in the energy transition. Its importance for fuel-efficient cars, planes, aerial vehicles, wind turbines, hydrogen and construction materials are spelled out on pages 4-7.

It is one of the most amazing value chains on the planet, which we disaggregate on pages 8-11, in order to quantify CO2 intensity, focusing in upon on the crucial step of carbon fiber production from polyacrylonitrile.

The economics are modeled on pages 12-13. We show marginal costs are likely to rise by 70-100% if this industry must itself decarbonize.

Opportunities and companies are discussed on pages 14-16, including an overview of eight leading carbon fiber producers and their positioning.