Silicon - Statistics & Facts

Silicon is the second most common element in the Earth’s crust, although it is hard to find it in nature as a pure element. China is by far the world’s largest producer of silicon, including thereby silicon content for ferrosilicon and silicon metal. Around 4.6 million metric tons of silicon was produced in China in 2016 which accounted for about two-thirds of global production that year, which reached about 7.2 million metric tons. Other major producers are Russia, the United States, and Brazil.

The United States produced some 396 thousand metric tons of silicon in 2016. Exports stood at some seven thousand metric tons of ferrosilicon and 46 thousand metric tons of silicon metal. On the other hand, the U.S. imported some 170 thousand metric tons of ferrosilicon and 128 thousand metric tons of silicon metal. Russia is the leading exporter of silicon to the United States, accounting for 23 percent of total silicon imports between 2012 and 2015.

The consumption of silicon in the United States was 634 thousand metric tons per year in 2016. Silicon is used in the production of steel, cast irons, superalloys, other alloys, and other unspecified categories. Interestingly, silicon is also the basis for omnipresent silicones - silicon-based polymers. As polysilicon—a particularly pure form of silicon—silicon is vital for the photovoltaic industry. Another important use of silicon is the use of highly refined silicon in electronics, often as semiconductors for discrete devices and integrated circuits.

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