Green Electrical Materials Market to Reach $8.7 Billion by 2010

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff December 12, 2005

Several worldwide initiatives aimed at eliminating the use of various hazardous materials will affect the markets for electrical and electronic equipment materials in the next five years.

Environmental legislation and regulations limiting or banning the use of traditional materials, including lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and cadmium are being introduced to safeguard both human and environmental health. As deadlines for these restrictions rapidly approach, many manufacturers must make careful decisions when replacing toxic materials, in order to minimize process risks and ensure optimal product quality.

According to a soon-to-be-released technical market research report, “RGB-320 Green Materials for Electrical, Electronic and Other Applications,”from Business Communications Co., Inc. ( , the global market for green materials is estimated at $6.1 billion in 2005 and is expected to reach $8.7 billion by 2010, increasing at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 7.4%. These green materials include lead-free solders, lead-free solder coatings, replacements for PBB and PBDE, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury.

PBB and PBDE replacements represent the market leader, accounting for $3.5 billion in 2003, $4.3 billion in 2004, and $4.7 billion in 2005, holding over 77% of the total market share. In 2010, PBB and PBDE materials will account for more than $6 billion of the total market share, maintaining an AAGR of 5.2% throughout the forecast period. While these materials hold the majority of the total market, their growth rate is much steadier throughout the forecast period.

Lead-free solders and solder coatings represent the fastest growing segments in the forecast period. Sales of lead-free solders will rise at an AAGR of 20.1%, reaching 614.9 million in 2010. Lead-free solder coatings will accrue even more rapidly at an AAGR of 21.7%, reaching over $1 billion by 2010. Together, they will account for almost 20% of the total market by the end of the forecast period.

Sales of hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury replacements account for 12.5% of the market in 2005, with sales of $107.7 million, $123.6 million, and $526.3 million, respectively. Each will grow moderately through the forecast period, representing 11.7% of the market for green materials and combined global revenues of $1.0 billion in 2010.

The largest field of application for PBB and PBDE replacements is represented by the automotive sector, which accounts for 80% of the total sales for this group of raw materials. In addition, electronic manufacturers in developing countries are also embracing the use of environmentally friendly components and parts, a factor that over the long-term is expected to contribute to increased use of these materials.