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 4.8 million metric tons of silicon was produced in China in 2017, which accounted for about two-thirds of the global silicon production of 7.2 million metric tons that year. Other major producers are Russia, the United States, and Norway.

The United States produced some 405 thousand metric tons of silicon in 2017. Exports stood at some seven thousand metric tons of ferrosilicon and 62 thousand metric tons of silicon metal. On the other hand, the U.S. imported some 150 thousand metric tons of ferrosilicon and 140 thousand metric tons of silicon metal. Russia is the leading exporter of silicon to the United States, accounting for 20 percent of total silicon imports between 2013 and 2016.

The consumption of silicon in the United States was 625 thousand metric tons per year in 2017. 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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