High Purity Quartz Market – Snapshot
High purity quartz is also known as HPQ. The industry standard for HPQ is defined by a product marketed as IOTA, mined by Sibelco. IOTA has set a high-purity benchmark for the rest of the HPQ market. It contains 20 ppm per million as a standard, equating to 99.998% of SiO2. The IOTA brand is the industry standard for high-quality fused quartz products. High purity quartz is a vital industrial component required in the production of all high-end electronics applications, semi-conductors, and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. None of these products can be manufactured without reliable supply of consistent-purity HPQ. The processing required to produce HPQ depends on the amount and type of impurities present in raw quartz and it may include crushing, screening, floatation, acid washes by using hydrofluoric acid (which is a waste product from a phosphoric acid plant), magnetic separation, and/or other physical, chemical, and thermal techniques. Lower the level of transitional elements, purer the material extracted from the ground and lesser the processing required to produce a valuable product. Processing of raw quartz into high purity quartz involves advanced comminution technology as well as physical, thermal and chemical steps. High purity quartz is used in solar panels and semiconductors. It is geologically rare and costlier than the lower-grade material. Deposits of HPQ are rare and the largest known occurrence is in Alaskite igneous rocks near Spruce Pine, North Carolina (the U.S.). Only a few deposits of quartz can present contamination levels lower than 0.003%. Currently, only two or three large-sized companies based in the U.S. and Europe are producing high purity quartz.
In terms of application, the high purity quartz market has been segmented into semiconductors, solar, lightening, optics, and others. The semiconductors segment accounts for a dominant share of the market. High purity quartz products are ideal for use in the semiconductor industry, due to their superior quality and excellent purity. High purity quartz is used in the semiconductor industry to produce crucibles and quartz glass products such as windows, rods, and tubes. High purity quartz is also used in the production of silicon metal, which is the base for semiconductor wafers manufactured by employing the Czochralski process. High purity quartz enables parts of a semiconductor to withstand extreme temperatures of wafer processing. Rising use of new-generation wafers in semiconductors is driving the demand for high purity quartz. Solar is the second-largest application segment of the global high purity quartz market. High purity quartz is used primarily for Czochralski crucibles and for photovoltaic cells, tubes, and other hardware used in the photovoltaic industry. High purity quartz is employed in several manners in the manufacture of c-Si cells and modules including in crucibles; in quartz glass for tubes, rods, and widows; and in silicon metal, which the base material for all c-Si PV modules. HPQ is used in all types of quartz lightening including automotive xenon, halogen, HID, and UPH lamps. The glass used in halogen lamps must have excellent optical transmission properties and ability to withstand extreme temperatures and thermal shocks, without getting deformed. The tungsten filament glows at a temperature of 2500°C, only a few mm away from the glass wall. Only high purity quartz glass can be used for this application.
Based on region, the global high purity quartz market has been divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. In terms of both revenue and volume, Asia Pacific dominated the global high purity quartz market in 2017. Increasing number of solar plants and fabrication plants in the region drives the market in Asia Pacific. China and Japan hold a major share of the Asia Pacific market, owing to presence of a promising semiconductor industry in these countries. Key players prefer investing in Asia Pacific, as the region has presence of natural reserves such as mineral deposits and abundant availability of labor. North America is another significant consumer of high purity quartz, with the presence of a large number of players, high-purity deposits, and manufacturing facilities in the region. The Quartz Corp is a major supplier of high purity quartz sand from sites in Spruce Pine (the U.S.), which is the source of the world’s purest quartz, and Drag (NO).
The global high purity quartz market is dominated by only a few players. Only two producers i.e. Quartz Corporation and Sibelco hold more than 80% share of the global production. Key players operating in the global high purity quartz market are The Quartz Corporation, Sibelco, Jiangsu Pacific Quartz Co., Ltd., Momentive Performance Materials Inc., High Purity Quartz Pty Ltd, Russian Quartz, I-Minerals Inc., Creswick Quartz, and Nordic Mining ASA. Most companies are focused on improvement and innovation in the manufacture of high purity quartz.