The Global Market for Thin Films in Energy Applications

Published - Aug 2008| Analyst - Robert Moran| Code - EGY060A
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Report Highlights

This report:

  • Examines the function of thin films in energy production and storage applications including fuel cells, photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, geothermal energy, wind energy and nuclear energy
  • Discusses advantages of thin film technology
  • Determines the current market status for thin films, and assesses their worldwide growth potential over a five-year period from 2008 to 2013
  • Includes a patent analysis
  • Assesses global energy problems and evaluates how thin film technologies can provide solutions.


Study Goals and Objectives
Increasing focus on the demand for energy led BCC Research to conduct this study, which determines the current status of thin films used in various kinds of energy. Our goal was to assess the value of thin films used in the fabrication of six energy technologies for 2007, project 2008 demand, and then forecast thin film demand growth to 2013. Other energy material studies have been done by BCC Research and are referenced in this section, but this study focuses on the merits of thin films. Our key objective was to present a comprehensive analysis of the current market for thin films and its future direction.
Reasons for Doing the Study
Global demand for traditional fossil fuels has risen at an unprecedented rate over the last several years. The economics of supply and demand have driven prices of oil, gas, and coal to record levels. In addition, fossil fuels are considered a source of pollution that aids climate change. Nations have responded by instituting reductions in activities that require the use of fossil fuels and by searching for alternative energy methods.
Our goal was to examine traditional and alternative energy technologies to determine the use, if any, of thin films in their fabrication and operation. Thin films are often applied to reduce the cost of product fabrication, improve performance, and provide more flexibility in product design. In addition, they are environmentally benign.
Our investigation of the global energy industry revealed that thin films play a part in six technologies:
  • Photovoltaics
  • Concentrating solar power
  • Geothermal power
  • Nuclear power
  • Batteries
  • Fuel cells
The presence of thin films varies from a high level for photovoltaics cells to anticorrosion coatings for geothermal energy. They all have one thing in common—a potential for growth.
Intended Audience
In this study of thin films in energy, we present current and emerging technologies for each of the six types, detail the industry structure of each segment, discuss the competitive environment of each type of energy, review current and future applications for thin films, analyze current markets and their drivers and growth factors, and detail shipments of thin films for 2007, 2008, and 2013. This study will be of interest to those who make semiconductors and their manufacturing equipment, thin films, materials in general, pumps and related equipment, batteries and their materials, and fuel cells. It will also be of interest to those companies engaged in nanotechnology and materials for flexible substrates. Utility companies, construction firms, and those entities involved with the space program will also find this study to be valuable.
Scope of Report
The scope of this study encompasses the six energy technologies of photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, geothermal, nuclear, thin film batteries, and thin film fuel cells. Materials include copper indium diselenide, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, gallium arsenide, nanostructured thin films, a variety of anti-corrosive thin films, titanium nitride, metallic alloys, barrier films, lithium, platinum, and others pertinent to the energy products. BCC Research analyzes each technology, examines its current and future potential, assesses the market status of each, looks at its future impact, and presents shipments of thin films for each of the six energy segments for 2007, 2008, and 2013. Various technological issues are discussed, and a thorough economic analysis of each type of energy and its impact on future growth is presented.
In this report, we analyze thin films for energy on a global basis, including manufacturing capacity and consumption by various regional markets. We examine government funding and support, industry involvement and environmental impact. We also discuss the potential for applications, and identify where thin films are being used by specific applications.
BCC Research presents an analysis for each of the six energy technologies in the dollar volume shipped in 2007. Our estimated values are what manufacturers have paid in undepreciated dollars. Then, based on our surveys, we analyze the potential market for each technology, and forecast shipments for 2008 and 2013. We also analyze the value and growth of the various energy components that use thin films over the same time periods.
Information Sources
BCC Research surveyed approximately 135 companies to obtain data for this study. Included were manufacturers of photovoltaic cells, concentrating solar thermal systems, geothermal systems and pumps, nuclear reactor components, batteries of all types, and fuel cells. We also spoke with companies developing materials, such as thin films, for energy products. In addition, we compiled data from current financial and trade information and government sources.

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