Carbon Nanotubes: Technologies and Global Markets

Published - Jan 2010| Analyst - John Oliver| Code - NAN024D
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Report Highlights

  • Global market for CNT grades based on committed production reached $103 million in 2009. This market is projected to reach $167.2 million in 2010 and $1 billion in 2014 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 58.9%
  • Multi-wall CNT grade market is nearly $103 million in 2009. This market is projected to reach $161 million in 2010 and $865.5 million in 2014, for a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53.1%.
  • Few-wall market was down in 2009 to $0.79 million. This market is projected to reach approximately $6 million in 2010 and to reach $62.5 million in 2014, for a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR)  of 139.7%.


Among the numerous categories in the evolving field of newly synthesized nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are perhaps among the most dynamic and undergoing the most rapid pace of development. The past 5 years have witnessed relentless growth in the research, development, and technological understanding of these remarkable materials. Universities, small businesses, and start-ups, as well as large corporations, have continued to probe and exploit numerous commercial possibilities for these fascinating materials. As a result, the list of product applications is expanding considerably and is projected to do so well into the future.
The most tangible evidence for growth and interest is reflected by the emergence of new CNT producers now capable of offering CNTs in commercial-scale quantities—in kilograms, tonnes, and even hundreds of tonnes, depending on the specific grade—at more affordable and increasingly competitive unit pricing. In addition, after several years of incubation, there is a new breed of more mature university spin-offs, or nanotechnology companies, targeting specific application sectors. Additional evidence of growth is the increasing presence of larger, more established corporations that recognize the future market opportunities offered by CNTs. Finally, over the past 5 years, there has been phenomenal growth in patent activity. For instance, in 2009 alone, the number of issued CNT-related U.S. patents is estimated to reach almost 1,000, a record. For patents pending, the situation is even more dramatic, approaching a cumulative backlog from 2001 to mid-2009 now totaling 10,830, more than doubling the output of 4,400 patents filed during 2001 to 2006, the period covered in the previous edition of this report. 
In view of the technical momentum, representing a multibillion-dollar technology investment, and the enormous business potential, this report provides a timely update on CNTs—their level of technically maturity, where they are starting to penetrate the market place, and when and where the broadening CNT market will be in the immediate future.
The primary objective of this report is threefold:
  • Assess the current state-of-the-art in CNT production and technical applications understanding
  • Identify the current players seeking to exploit their unique properties
  • Evaluate actual or impending markets in terms of the technical readiness of CNTs and the projected market revenues.
The report is divided into the five major chapters:
TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW defines, outlines the history, describes the production methodology, identifies the unique properties of various forms of CNTs, and emphasizes the major application challenges.
PATENT ANALYSIS provides an extensive search/analysis of U.S. issued and pending patents (along with Canadian, European and WPTO databases where there is no USPTO presence), a collation of the main technical/application sectors and identifies the most active organizations—U.S. and foreign—driving CNT technology.
INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS identifies current producers, progress in continuous production scale-up, market segmentation, and an industry profile covering the major players.
MARKETS BY APPLICATION represents the body of the report assessing the latest progress and technical readiness in the major application sectors of composites, electronics, energy storage, membranes, sensors, and other applications.
MARKET ANALYSIS identifies the most promising applications realizable within the next 5 years and estimates the potential revenues of producers based on their competitiveness, technical readiness, and the projected market size.
This report represents a major update to BCC Research’s report, Carbon Nanotubes: Technologies and Commercial Prospects, NAN024C, published in 2007-03-15. The most significant revisions in this new edition include the following:
  • An extensive patent analysis of the U.S. patent database
  • An in-depth assessment of the unfolding commercial markets
  • Progress in the synthesis and commercial scale-up of CNTs
  • Extensive compilation of the producers and end users dictating market development
  • A 5-year projected market analysis of the emerging CNT industry 

This comprehensive technical and business assessment on the current status of the CNT industry should prove informative to nanomaterials manufacturers, investors seeking near-term commercialization opportunities, technologists confronted with nanomaterial device integration issues, and companies interested in exploiting revolutionary nanomaterials for advanced composites, biomedical, electronic, energy storage, membrane separation, sensing, and security applications. 

This report is primarily derived from the enormous amount of patent and technical literature relating to CNTs disclosed in the public domain. In addition, complementary information has also been drawn from the business community, such as company investment news, company profiles, press releases, and personal telephone interviews with selected companies. 
John Oliver, the author of this report, is the founder of Innov8 Solutions, which provides advanced materials consultation services to industrial clients. He has more than 30 years of industrial R&D experience in surface and colloid science spanning a wide range of materials technology. Primarily, working as a senior scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada, he developed an invaluable understanding in advanced materials used in digital printing technologies such as xerography and inkjet printing (IJP). More recently through his involvements with the Alberta Research Council and several local universities, his interests have evolved into the realm of nanomaterials and microsystems device integration. He has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from McGill University, a BSc degree in Chemistry from Surrey University, U.K. His publications include more than 40 technical articles and 20 patents.
Between 2005 and 2009, he was the editor of BCC’s monthly Nanoparticle News and has authored three previous BCC Research’s nanomaterial technical reports, Quantum Dots: Technical Status and Market Prospects (NAN027A/NAN027B) and Carbon Nanotubes: Technologies and Commercial Prospects (NAN024C).
Nanoparticle News
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.

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Published - Mar-2007| Analyst - John Oliver| Code - NAN024C

Report Highlights

  • The global market for carbon nanotubes was worth $50.9 million by the end of 2006 and will reach $79.1 million by 2007. At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 73.8%, this booming market will reach $807.3 million by 2011.
  • Composites held the largest share of the market by a wide margin. In 2006 they were worth more than $43 million, more than 80% of the total global industry. By 2011, this sector will be worth $451.2 million,
  • Though its values in 2006 and 2007 were negligible, energy applications for CNT have an astronomical potential for growth, with a CAGR of more than 300% through the forecast period. Energy CNTs will be worth $53 million by 2011.
Published - Feb-2003| Analyst - Sam Brauer| Code - NAN024B

Report Highlights

  • The estimated volume volume of research based on nanotubes (both single wall and specialty multiwall nanotubes) that have been produced worldwide to date, range from 10 to 20 kg, with a value of approximately $5 to $10 million. This report uses a figure of 22.1 kg in 2002, with a value of $7.2 million.
  • Multiwall nanotubes for modifying polymers are now sold in million-pound plus quantities.
  • Nanotubes may see near-term use in military, consumer and industrial products.
  • Long-term applications of nanotubes can easily exceed several billion dollars, but when, is debatable.

Published - Nov-2000| Analyst - Sam Brauer| Code - NAN024A

Report Highlights

  • Nanotubes, cylinders of carbon atoms with diameters ranging from 1 nm to 300 nm, are some of the strongest, stiffest materials known. Furthermore, these materials are either conductors or semi-conductors, depending on their structure and environment. Nanotubes have some physical properties that have no counterpart in macroscopic materials.
  • With advances in synthetic techniques and the ability to characterize materials readily on an atomic scale, interest has been piqued in nanometer-size materials. Since nanometer-size grains, cylinders, and plates have dramatically increased surface areas compared to their conventional-size materials, the chemistry of these nano-size materials is altered compared to conventional materials.
  • Macroscopic carbon compounds, such as diamond and graphite, have been known for centuries. These two forms of carbon compounds have been used in various applications ranging from lubricants to wear-resistant coatings. Although these materials have been available for many years, new applications of these materials are still being discovered today. It is clear that both graphite and diamond are economically important materials.


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