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BCC report estimates market for lightweight materials in transportation will climb to more than $125B in 2015

The global market value for lightweight materials used in transportation equipment will increase to nearly $125.3 billion in 2015 up from an estimated $95.5 billion in 2010 for a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%, according to a new technical market research report from BCC Research.

Trends in global market for lightweight materials in transportation, 2009-2015. Source: BCC. Click to enlarge.

The consumption of these materials is projected to reach 67.7 million tons in 2015 after rising at a CAGR of 7.7% from its 2010 figure of 46.7 million tons.

Motor vehicles, particularly passenger cars and light trucks, make up by far the largest end-user segment. Global consumption in this sector was 164 million tons in 2010 and is expected to increase at a 2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach nearly 182 million tons in 2015.

Railway equipment’s share of the total materials tonnage is projected to rise from 1.4% to 1.5%.

Railway locomotives and rolling stock materials consumption in 2010 was 2.6 million tons. This sector is expected to increase at a 2.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach 3 million tons by 2015.

Reducing structural weight is one of the most important ways of reducing fuel consumption and improving the performance of motor vehicles and other types of transportation equipment. For example, an estimated 75% of the average motor vehicle’s fuel consumption is directly related to factors associated with vehicle weight.

Less weight, consistent with other performance and safety requirements, means more useful work can be extracted from a unit of fuel or other energy source. In addition, weight-reducing technologies are critical to the success of new energy technologies such as hybrid vehicles.

The alternative to downsizing is the development of materials that combine relatively low mass (weight) with the requisite strength, flexibility, and other performance criteria. The aircraft industry was the first to introduce lightweight materials (e.g., aluminum alloys) on a widespread scale beginning in the 1920s. This continues today with the adoption of lightweight composite materials.

The overall goal of the report, Lightweight Materials in Transportation (AVM056B), is to provide an up-to-date assessment of the business opportunities for providers of lightweight materials that will arise over the next five years as these materials increase their penetration into various transportation markets.



This is really good news to reduce fuel consumption an oil imports for transportation vehicles. It is an area that should get more public support, specially for future electrified lighter weight vehicles.

Current ICE vehicles have grown from well under one (1) ton to almost four (4) tons in the last century. That was more or less acceptable when crude oil was extremely cheap (around $1/barrel) and pollution was not yet a worldwide problem.

The world may not be in a position to continue to waste so much fossil fuel energy. Fuel price may be 100 to 200 times higher, making ICE larger-heavier vehicles to expensive to use.


This is a side issue, but I wonder how solid rubber tires would do. They have low roll resistance tires, but how about no pneumatic tire at all?

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