Automotive Semiconductors

Semiconductors—the essencial foundation upon which modern electronics rest—are found in all electronic devices as well as many products that one would not initially think of as electronic, such as greeting cards with embedded audio chips in them to produce music upon opening. The use of semiconductors in the automotive industry has made the modern car/truck one of the most advanced electronic devices most people own, often without even knowing it.

Semiconductors are, in the simplest terms, elements like germanium and silicon that conduct electricity at only moderate rates, thus they are “semi” conductors. These elements are used to make the semiconductor chips that are embedded in electronic devices to allow the use of electrical currents as a signal. All cybernetics rely on this type of signaling.

Today’s market size is the estimated value of the automotive semiconductor market, worldwide, in 2012 (when it represented 8.1% of the total world semiconductor market) and a projection of the market’s value in 2020.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2012 and a projection for 2020
Market size: $23.4 billion and $33.5 billion respectively
Sources: (1) Gary S. Vasilash, “The Supercomputer in Your Garage,” Car and Driver, page 34, December 2013. (2) Monique D. Magee, editor, “Semiconductors,” Market Share Reporter: Trends Over Time, page 553, GALE Cengage Learning, 2012.
Original Source: Strategy Analytics
Posted on November 15, 2013

Plug-In, Electric Cars

Tesla booth at Detroit Auto Show

Today’s market size is the number of electric plug-in cars purchased in the United States in 2012. Plug-in electric cars come in two varieties, an all electric version like the Tesla Model S and a hybrid electric and gas engine version such as the Chevy Volt. The electric and gas engine variety is similar to more conventional hybrid cars but has a much larger battery and can, as the name implies, be plugged into an electric outlet for charging. By contrast, most cars referred to simply as hybrids (non-plug-ins) use a battery system to assists the primary gas engine and they charge that battery internally by capturing energy from the operation of the engine itself.

The world of cars is changing, perhaps slowly but it is changing. In 2012, plug-in electrics represented 0.51% of all sales of automobiles in the United States and 11.6% of all hybrid car sales.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012
Market size: 50,804 plug-in electric cars
Source: JC Reindl, “LG CHEM: Battery Industry’s Future Questioned After Report,” page 1, Detroit Free Press, February 17, 2013.
Posted on February 20, 2013

Portable Generators

The recent hurricane that did so much damage along the north eastern coast of the United States has caused a spike in the sale of portable generators that convert fuel—gasline, deisel, natural gas, propane, etc.—into electric power. These systems are often referred to as Gensets and two of the leading manufacturers of such systems are Cummins and Caterpiler. Today’s market size is the value of the portable generator market worldwide in 2011 and the forecasted value by 2020.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2011 and 2020
Market size: $12 billion and $22.3 billion respectively
Source: “Research and Markets: Diesel and Gas Generator, 2012 – Global Market Size, Segmentation and Equipment Market Share to 2020,” August 30, 2012, BusinessWire, available online here.
Original source: GlobalData
Posted on November 12, 2012

Solar Panels

On May 17, 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department announced the imposition of antidumping tariffs on solar
panels imported to the United States from several Chinese companies. China exports 95% of the solar panels it makes worldwide. In the United States, Chinese made solar cell imports more than doubled between 2010 and 2011 while the wholesale price of solar cells in the United States continued a multi year fall. The price of solar panels is based on their electrical capacity. In 2008, the average price per watt of capacity was $3.30 and in January 2012 that price had fallen to $1.20. The lower prices have fueled the market and led to quickly rising installations but they have also crippled the domestic panel manufacturing industry. Therefore, the new tariffs are welcomed by one part of the industry—manufacturers—and disliked by another—installers.

Today’s market size is the value of solar cells imported to the United States from China in 2011.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011
Market size: $3.1 billion
Source: Keith Bradsher and Diane Cardwell, “Chinese Solar Panels Face Big Tariffs,” New York Times, May 18, 2012, page B1, available online here. Also from Keith Bradsher, “U.S. Solar Panel Makers Say China Violated Trade Rules,” New York Times, October 19, 2011, available here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Commerce
Posted on May 22, 2012

“Other” Renewables

In yesterday’s market size post we looked at non hydro-power renewable sources of electricity. These renewables are usually broken into four categories, Wind, Geothermal, Solar and Other. So, what does this “other” include? This category covers a wide range of methods for generating electricity and what follows is only a partial list of them: waste incineration, wood burning, connecting exercise bicycles in gyms to capture the kinetic energy they generate during spinning classes, and the harnessing of elephants and/or oxen to a grinding wheel used to turn a series of interlocking turbines. While each of these methods represent but a small fraction of all electric production, together they accounted for 6.8% of renewable electricity generation in 2007.

For a thorough discussion of these many methods of generating electricity, and statistics for their prevelance in the United States, the LaMarotte blog has a wonderful post on the topic, available here.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2007
Market size: 235 Billion Kilowatt hours
Source: “Table 12. OECD and Non-OECD net renewable electricity generation by energy source, 2007-2035,” International Energy Outlook 2010, report available online here.
Original Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Happy April Fools Day!

Electricity from Renewables

Renewable Energy Sources Worldwide

Hydroelectric power plants are the largest producers of electricity from renewable sources. As we saw in yesterday’s Market Size post, they represented 15.97% of world electricity production in 2008. That same year, electricity produced by all other renewable sources accounted for 2.4% of electricity generated. While responsible for only a small percentage of all electricity generation now, renewable sources are forecast to grow steadily through 2035 at which point the non hydro-power portion will account for 7.26% of global production.

The pie chart shows how electricity is generated worldwide and provides a detail of the small pie slice that represents non hydro-power renewables. The renewable energy source that is forecast to grow most quickly in the next decade is solar.

Please note that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projections exclude electricity generated by so called off-grid sources, thus renewable energy consumed at the site of production. Energy producted by solar panels installed, for example, on a private home for the sole and exclusive use of the residents of that home is not counted in the EIA projections. If, however, those solar panels are tied into the public electric grid, then the electricity they generate is accounted for in the EIA projections. Time will tell how significant these off-grid electricity generation resources become.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2007 and 2035
Market size: 463 and 2,554 Billion Kilowatt hours respectively (please note this is the size of electicity generation from non hydro-power renewable sources)
Source: “Table 12. OECD and Non-OECD net renewable electricity generation by energy source, 2007-2035,” International Energy Outlook 2010, report available online here.
Original Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Hydroelectric Power

The production of electricity with hydroelectric power plants represents 80% of all renewable electric power generation worldwide. Hydro plants work by using the flow of water to turn a turbine, which then turns a metal shaft in an electric generator, which is the motor that produces electricity. Hydroelectric Power Plants accounted for 15.97% of all electric power produced worldwide in 2008.

In the United States, 6% of electricity is generated in hydro plants, a relatively small percentage compared with other nations. The ability to use hydroelectric power plants to generate electricity is, of course, to a large extent a matter of having the resources needed to harness water’s power. Paraguay, for example, produces 100% of its electricity—as well as electricity enough to export—from hydroelectric power plants while Saudi Arabia has no hydroelectric power generation. A chart which shows the top twenty countries in the world based on their production of hydro-power and based on the same source material is presented on the blog, LaMarotte, here.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2008
Market size: 2,998 Billion Kilowatt hours
Source: “Table 1387. Net Electricity Generation by Type and Country: 2008,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, page 867, available online here.
Original Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Nuclear Power Plants

Energy Pie Chart

Electricity is generated in a variety of ways which are broken down into the six categories presented in the pie chart to the right. Each method of generating electricity has its pros and cons, its costs, risks, benefits, and advantage, all of which are much debated as we grapple with how best to produce electricity for a world whose demand for it grows annually. And growth in consumption is likely to speed up with the transition from the internal combustion engine to electric-powered vehicles (no pun intended).

Nuclear power plants accounted for 13.8% of global electricity generation in 2008. Nations who use nuclear power generation for the largest percentages of their electricity needs include France (78%), Belgium (55.8%), and Ukraine (47.1%). To see a nice chart of the top twenty leading nuclear power dependent nations, visit the LaMarotte blog, here.

Worth noting is the fact that Japan is among the twenty nations who depend most on nuclear power to generate its electricity. It comes in 10th on that list with 23.7% of its electricity generated at nuclear power plants in 2008.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2008
Market size: 2,590 Billion Kilowatt hours
Source: “Table 1387. Net Electricity Generation by Type and Country: 2008,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, page 867, available online here. The data used to make the pie chart are for 2008 and come from the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2010, available online here.
Original Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Electric Power Generation

By way of noting this year’s “Earth Hour” (May 26, 2011)—as well as the ongoing challenges being faced by the Japanese as they struggle to get a damaged nuclear power plant stabilized—this week our market size items will all be related to electric energy markets.

We are voracious consumers of electricity, particularly in the industrialized world where even many toothbrushes plug into an electric outlet. Today’s market size is the size of the world’s capacity for generating electricity. Tomorrow we’ll start breaking this down by how the electric power is generated, with coal, hydroelectric dam, nuclear plant, solar panels, etc.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2008
Market size: 18,778.7 Billion Kilowatt hours
Source: “Table 1387. Net Electricity Generation by Type and Country: 2008,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, page 867, availalbe online here.
Original Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Hydroelectric Power Market

Over the period 2002 to 2007, the cost of energy rose steadily, as did the revenues generated by those companies in the business of extracting (in the case of fossil fuels), processing, moving, storing, and selling energy. For that reason, it is surprising to see that hydroelectric power generation in the United States actually saw a decline in revenues, as well as employment over the period. In 2002 the hydroelectric power generation industry employed 6,360 people and in 2007 it employed only 3,795.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2002 and 2007
Market size: $2.73 Billion and $2.24 Billion respectively
Source: “2007 Economic Census: Sector 22: Utilities: Preliminary Comparitive Statistics for the United States 2007 and 2002″, July 31, 2009, [Online] here.
Original Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census