As the electronics industry dumps its use of lead, mercury and other hazardous materials, its appetite for clean, green materials is set to increase. A new study published by Business Communications Co. of Norwalk, Conn. finds that the global market for green materials will rise from $6.1 billion in 2005 to $8.7 billion by 2010, showing an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent. These green materials include lead-free solders, lead-free solder coatings, replacements for PBB and PBDE, as well as replacements for hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury. All of these substances are banned by the European Union’s RoHS directive.
Though the RoHS transition goes by the tag, lead-free, the leading substances in dollar figures are the PBB and PBDE replacements, which accounted for $3.5 billion in sales during 2003, $4.3 billion in 2004, and $4.7 billion in 2005. These replacements account for more than 77 percent of the total market share of green materials that are getting a boost from RoHS. By 2010, PBB and PBDE replacements will account for $6 billion, showing an average growth rate of 5.2 percent. The largest field of application for PBB and PBDE replacements will be in the automotive sector, which accounts for 80 percent of the total sales for this group of materials.
Lead-free solders and solder coatings, represent a smaller portion of the green materials pie, but it’s a faster growing portion. Sales for lead-free solders will increase an average 20.1 percent per year, reaching $614.9 million by 2010. Lead-free solder coatings will rise at a faster clip, growing 21.7 percent per year over the coming five years, reaching $1 billion in sales by 2010. Together lead-free solders and lead-free solder coatings account for 20 percent of the green materials pie.
Sales of hexavalent chromium, cadmium and mercury replacements account for 12.5 percent of the green materials market with sales of $107.7 million, $123.6 million and $526.3 million, respectively. Each will grow moderately through the forecast period, reaching a combined $1 billion in sales by 2010.
Much of the sharp increase in the use of green materials will come from the emerging Asian market, where electronic manufacturers are embracing the use of environmentally clean materials, according to the report. The United States and Europe show less pronounced growth rates for green materials through the five-year forecast period.