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Graphene Markets, Technologies and Opportunities 2014-2024
By Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh, Head of Consulting, IDTechEx
Independent market insight
IDTechEx analysts have been closely tracking the graphene market for over two years. We have formally interviewed and profiled more than 25 key players and end-users and compiled detailed profiles on another 50 companies/organisations. At the same time, IDTechEx has organised three leading conferences on the topic; bringing together key players and learning the latest information first-hand. We have also visited numerous other events. Additionally, IDTechEx has carried out many consultancy projects on the topic, giving it strong strategic insights.
Interest in graphene remains strong. Companies on the market multiply every year and academic investment continues to pour in. For example, the European Union has committed 1 billion Euros over a decade to research on graphene and other 2D materials, while the Korean and UK governments have each, respectively, committed at least $40 million and £24 million in the past two years. At the same time, several graphene companies have floated on the public markets, fetching large valuations and therefore demonstrating the continued appetite for investment in graphene. IDTechEx counts approximately $60 million of investment in private graphene companies over the years.
Graphene is still in search of its killer application that delivers a unique value proposition or a first mover advantage. In the absence of such applications, the commercialisation process remains a substitution game. This is not meritless as graphene can target a broad spectrum of applications including energy storage, composites, functional inks and electronics. The value proposition of graphene, the competitive landscape, the technical requirements, and the likely graphene manufacturing techniques will be different for each sector, resulting in market fragmentation. Therefore, the graphene market will in fact grow to consist of multiple subsets.
Functional inks are technologically the lowest hanging fruit for graphene suppliers. They offer low temperature processing, compatibility with several printing processes and also ruggedness. However they occupy an awkward position in the conductivity ladder, sitting many orders of magnitude below metallic inks and pastes (silver and copper) but just above carbon paste. They must therefore identify sectors where metallic inks/pastes grossly overshoot the market requirements or sectors where carbon pastes just undershoot.
Energy storage is a very attractive target market for graphene. Supercapacitors are a particularly high-growth sector which IDTechEx expects to register a 30% CAGR over the coming decade. Graphene may deliver value here thanks to high surface-to-volume ratio and early laboratory results, although technical hurdles that prevent utilisation of the full surface and in-plane conductivity remain.
The transparent conductive film sector is a also large and growing market. ITO films remain the dominant solution and leaders here are ramping up the production capacity. The market however is transforming thanks to new alternatives and also drivers such as growing needs for ultra-low sheet resistance, mechanical robustness and lower prices.
The composite sector is also large and fragmented with many needs. Here, graphene nanoplatelets can deliver value as an additive creating multi-functionality - increasing electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, impermeability, mechanical strength and more.
Sensors will also be a key R&D frontier as graphene can be highly sensitive thanks to its large surface area. Many other application ideas are also around, but most are either early stage or face substantial challenges. For example, graphene is still in a nascent state for use as a water purifier and liability concerns limit the condom market.
Detailed technology and market analysis
IDTechEx's new report, "Graphene Markets, Technologies and Opportunities 2014-2024", provides the following:
- A comprehensive and quantitative technology assessment covering all the main manufacturing techniques, highlighting key challenges and unresolved technical hurdles, and the latest developments.
- Ten-year forecasts at the material level segmented by application.
- Detailed breakdown of company revenues and investments.
- Detailed sector by sector market assessment outlining the addressable market size (where relevant) and assessing graphene's existing and potential value proposition vis-à-vis competition (ITO, graphite, activated carbon, silver nanowires, black carbon, metallic inks, etc).
- Competitive landscape listing all the major competitors and their production technique and key products.
- Strategic insights on the state of the industry and key trends/drivers.
For more details see www.IDTechEx.com/graphene also attend IDTechEx's event Graphene LIVE! USA 2014.
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