BlueWeave Consulting, a leading strategic consulting and market research firm, in its recent study, estimated global natural fiber components market size at USD 6.4 billion in 2021. During the forecast period between 2022 and 2028, BlueWeave expects global natural fiber components market size to grow at a significant CAGR of 11.1% reaching a value of USD 13.4 billion by 2028. The automotive industry’s spiraling demand for lightweight products, as well as rising consumer awareness of environmentally friendly products, are major driving factors for market growth. Natural fibers are composed of renewable resources such as wood, cotton, flax, kenaf, and hemp. All these materials are easily accessible and less harmful to the environment. Because of the environmentally friendly raw materials used in their production, natural fiber composites have the potential to displace synthetic fibers in the coming years.
Global Natural Fiber Composites Market – Overview
Natural fibers have greater thermal stability after chemical processing than synthetic fibers. Natural fibers’ mechanical, thermal, and wettability properties are improved by these processes. The chemical treatment also alters the fiber’s morphology, surface chemistry, and pore structure. Natural fibers become stronger, stiffer, and more adherent to the matrix because of this process. They are an excellent choice for a wide range of applications, including road and bridge construction, aerospace, and automobile manufacturing. The increasing use of bio-based fiber composites in the automotive industry is driving market growth. Because of their lightweight, they are increasingly being used in the production of electric vehicle components. Furthermore, due to their competitive stiffness and strength to various synthetic fibers and good acoustic insulation characteristics, these composites can be used in floor panels, door panels, seat backs, underfloor pans, headliners, and trunk liners in cars and trucks.
In the building materials sector, demand for environmentally friendly materials is constant. Due to their many benefits, natural fiber-reinforced polymer-based composites are being used more frequently in civil engineering construction applications. Composites with wood fiber reinforcement can be used for molding, trimming, fencing, and decking. Wood fiber-reinforced composites are the preferred alternatives to wood in these applications because of their low-maintenance requirements and resistance to weathering, stains, and warping. Many wood-fiber composites, such as bathtubs and shower walls, fiber-reinforced (polymer) panels (FRP), privacy dividers, and translucent accent panels, can be replaced with non-wood natural fibers. To achieve long-term sustainability, composite materials are becoming increasingly crucial in the construction industry. The construction industry in the Asia-Pacific region has been growing steadily in recent years.
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Opportunity: Increasing Demand for Bio-based Composites from Automotive Industry
Because of growing environmental concerns and the resulting increase in demand for bio-based composite materials, the market for natural fiber-reinforced composites is growing. These composite fibers are produced from various plants’ bast or outer stem. The use of these composites can reduce carbon footprint by 50% when compared to products made from oil. Additionally, up to 100% of these natural fibers are recyclable. It is projected that each of these factors will encourage market growth. The expanding use of bio-based fiber composite in the automotive industry is another factor fueling market expansion. Due to their lightweight, they are being used more frequently to produce parts for electric vehicles.
Challenge: Low Adsorption of Moisture, Limited Processing Temperature, and Compatibility Issues with Majority of Polymer Matrices
Natural fibers lose some of their mechanical and physical characteristics when they are exposed to moisture, including flexural, tensile, fracture, and impact properties as well as dimensional instability and glass transition temperature (Tg). Reduced interfacial bonding between the fiber and matrix is the main cause of this. A void formation may be caused by moisture in the composite matrix. This aspect is predicted to slow market expansion. Additionally, it is anticipated that the low-impact resistivity of bio-based fiber-reinforced composites compared to glass fiber-reinforced composites will restrict their use. Numerous studies have shown that compared to glass fiber-reinforced composites, natural fiber-reinforced composites have significantly lower impact resistance (notched and un-notched). It is anticipated that this will restrict market growth.
Impact of COVID-19 on Global Natural Fiber Composites Market
The unprecedented global public health emergency known as COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected nearly every industry, and the long-term effects are expected to have an impact on industry growth.
Global Natural Fiber Composites Market – By Manufacturing Process
The global natural fiber composites market is categorized into three segments based on the manufacturing process: compression molding, injection molding, and others. A low molecular weight polymer is required to keep the viscosity low during injection molding. It is primarily used for the mass production of parts. End-use industries’ increasing demand for high-volume production is expected to contribute to the segment’s growth. Injection molding contributed 10% of total revenue. It is a closed molding technique used to create high-volume, high-pressure composite products. Then there are two more steps: preheating and pressurizing. Compression molding is a high-pressure, high-volume molding technique used to produce high-strength, complex objects for industries such as automotive, transportation, appliances, and other high-volume segments.
Global natural fiber composites market is fiercely competitive. Prominent players in global natural fiber composites market include UPM Biocomposites, Weyerhaeuser Company, Procotex SA Corporation NV, Trex Company, Inc, Advanced Enviromental Recyling Technologies, Inc (AERT), Fiberon LLC, Tecnaro GmbH, Flexform Technologies, Meshlin Composites ZRT, and Greencore Composites Inc. These companies use various strategies, including increasing investments in their R&D activities, mergers, and acquisitions, joint ventures, collaborations, licensing agreements, and new product and service releases to further strengthen their position in global natural fiber composites market.
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