Graphite electrodes are the only material with low electrical resistivity and are resistant to thermal gradients within an electric arc furnace. The main characteristics of graphite electrode production are long production cycle, large power consumption and complex production process.
The data shows that China’s graphite electrode output will reach 938,400 tons in 2021. According to the compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2021, it is estimated that China’s graphite electrode output will reach 1,089,400 tons in 2023.
Electric furnace steelmaking is a major user of graphite electrodes. my country’s electric furnace steel production accounts for about 18% of crude steel production, and graphite electrodes for steelmaking account for 70% to 80% of the total graphite electrode consumption. Data show that in 2021 China’s graphite electrode consumption will reach 749,300 tons. With the recovery of China’s operating rate and the government’s policy support for the development of electric arc furnace steel, it is estimated that China’s graphite electrode consumption will reach 873,700 tons in 2023.
According to different raw materials and physical and chemical indicators of finished products, graphite electrodes can be divided into three categories: ordinary power graphite electrodes, high power graphite electrodes and ultra-high power graphite electrodes. In China, high-quality ultra-high power graphite electrodes refer to graphite electrodes that meet the standards of ultra-high power graphite electrodes in the global market.
Ultra-high-power graphite electrodes have better specifications and performance. Compared with ordinary power graphite electrodes and high-power graphite electrodes, they have higher overall density, lower effective resistance, higher flexural strength, fewer total pores, and lower ash content. Ultra-high power graphite electrodes are mainly used in the manufacture of steel in electric arc furnaces, ladle furnaces and smelting furnaces. Data show that in 2021, China’s output of ultra-high power graphite electrodes will reach 352,600 tons, and its consumption will reach 307,800 tons. It is estimated that in 2023, the output of ultra-high power graphite electrodes in China will reach 460,800 tons, and the consumption will reach 391,400 tons.
Except for China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and other major steel-producing countries in the world are mainly electric furnace steelmaking, and have a large demand for graphite electrodes, while China’s graphite electrode production capacity accounts for more than 50% of the global production capacity, which makes China a net exporter of graphite electrodes. China, it is estimated that China’s graphite electrode exports will reach 403,000 tons in 2023.