Finally, the first mass market adoption of a nanocarbon

The revolutionary promise of nanocarbons has been touted for over 3 decades, but despite the extraordinary properties and hype, success has been limited – until now. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) may not be as glamorous as their younger sibling graphene, but IDTechEx predicts annual demand will exceed 70 ktpa by 2032 as for the first time manufacturers experience market pull of mass rather than a material push.
So what is this market pull? This is the role that MWCNTs play as a conductive additive in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries in a booming electric vehicle market. It won’t grab headlines like a “graphene battery” would, but the introduction offers key performance benefits while enabling thicker electrodes and higher C-rates, and enabling solutions for other new generation batteries and ultracapacitors.
In its latest report, “Carbon Nanotubes 2022-2032: Market, Technology, Players,” IDTechEx provides granular 10-year market forecasts, player analysis, technology benchmarking, and a deep dive into these application areas. basic and emerging. IDTechEx has a long experience in studying not only these nanocarbons, but also key sectors such as lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, sensors, printed electronics, etc. The report provides the reader with technical analysis and market research based on company profiles based on primary interviews.

1. Expansion and consolidation

The image shows MWCNT capacity over time. As seen, there was initial growth between 2007 and 2011, fueled by hype, but what followed was a long plateau. With the application of the lithium-ion battery, we are once again witnessing a rapid expansion and this time it is justified. These expansions are happening to meet demand from the booming battery electric vehicle market, which even the pandemic has now slowed. The dominance of this business, like that of the lithium-ion battery supply chain, is in East Asia and clear market leaders are beginning to emerge. It has also attracted the engagement of notable black carbon players, with Cabot Corporation making notable acquisitions and strategic investments from Birla Carbon.

However, IDTechEx expects this will also bring inevitable consolidation, look at a more mature additive like specialty carbon black where 3 companies easily hold over 50% of the market. The time for growth is now or expect to be left behind.

2. Price Reduction and Emerging Opportunities

This development has also led to an inevitable reduction in price, these are still high value, high performance products and larger scales of production facilitate process and supply chain efficiencies, reducing costs, but as we approach annual demand above 10,000 tonnes, prices will continue. Fall.

To be clear, this is not the first application of MWCNTs. They have found good roles in polymers and elastomers ranging from fuel systems to electronic packaging, but calling these applications mass would be unrealistic. However, with scale expansion and price reduction, it will open up more application spaces, especially in nanocomposites.

3. Another story for the SWCNTs

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are the most successful version of their multi-walled counterparts. However, due to manufacturing and dispersion challenges, they are at a very different stage of market penetration. There are some applications they are competing on like a polymer additive and there are some promising battery results but it won’t hit the hundreds of tons let alone the tens of thousands of tons anytime soon. However, there are some very exciting high-value applications in sensors, semiconductors and quantum computing that are advancing where volume is not key, but where purity, chirality and consistency become key. .

Likewise, there is continued progression in the early commercial phase of VACNT arrays, ultra-high aspect ratio nanotubes, filament yarns and nonwoven sheets with the emergence of new companies and solutions.

There are threats to this growth, the lingering question over health implications and changing regulations, geographic considerations and the rapid evolution of battery technology. All of these are explored with profiles based on interviews and case studies in the new IDTechEx market report.

It took a while, but the narrative eventually went from a “advanced material with unique properties looking for a problem to solve“to a value-added product in a rapidly growing mass market.

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