Fuel Cells – Increasing demand for portable devices and interest in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in developing countries are driving fuel cell demand. Carbon fiber composites are used in key components of fuel cell stacks. Major components such as bi-polar plates and gas diffusion layers are being made using CFRP, which not only reduces the system weight and part counts but also increases mechanical strength and corrosion resistance.
These and other emerging applications will continue to drive the growth of carbon fiber as end users seek the performance benefits of the material’s high strength and stiffness characteristics.
Figure X: 2021 Market Share of CFRP Parts’ Manufacturing Processes
The Construction/Infrastructure Market
By Ken Simonson, Chief Economist
Associated General Contractors of America
Construction professionals and suppliers have reason to be optimistic about their prospects in 2022. But they can expect plenty of hurdles to overcome along the way.
The grounds for optimism reflect a recent pickup in several private nonresidential categories, enactment of the largest-ever federal infrastructure funding bill and continuing demand for both single and multifamily housing. Each of these sectors should contribute to growth in 2022.
In 2021, most types of nonresidential construction spending trailed 2020 levels until late in the year, aside from robust gains in distribution and data center structures. By year end, however, groundbreaking had occurred or been announced for numerous manufacturing facilities. Manufacturing expansion will continue to bulk up contractors’ order books in 2022. The industry can also expect a modest upturn in retail, office, hotel and leisure-related spending, although the timing for these segments will vary by region and will depend on the level of coronavirus outbreaks.
Infrastructure spending is heading for major expansion but mostly not before late 2022 or beyond. Highway spending may ramp up promptly since the funds will flow through established channels, much of it under existing allocation rules. In contrast, funding for categories such as broadband and electric vehicle charging will require setting up procedures for applying for and choosing projects. Once selected, projects will likely require more time to order and produce materials and assemble and train workers.
The construction/infrastructure industry must cope with three main challenges: labor availability, supply chain bottlenecks and materials costs. Each was an issue in 2021 as well, but the severity of the impediments they will present in 2022 will vary by firm.