Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are nano-sized tubes made up of carbon atoms. Their properties depend on how carbon atoms are aligned to each other in a sheet. It is gaining prominence in various industry verticals primarily due to its varied applications as well as its durability. It is 100X times stronger and 6 X times lighter when compared to steel. Research is underway to explore its market potential in the auto mobile and electronics industries. It is a multi-billion dollar investment in technology when compared to other synthesized nanomaterial.
Owing to its attractive features, it is penetrating various end use markets. The growing demand for nanotechnology is set to cater to the growing demands of energy, healthcare, environment, aerospace and electronics sector. Analysis of the growing market of carbon nanotubes (CNT), there has been a tremendous rise in CNT patents over the last 5 years.In the healthcare domain, it plays an important role in body implants, medical devices, and dental filling materials.
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Researchers have developed sensors using carbon nanotubes, which can be injected into the blood to know the concentration level of nitric oxide. It has potential in assessing critical illnesseslike oral cancer. In oil and energy sectors, it can play an important role in cleaning of oil spills. Besides the oil sector, it finds its usefulness in water purification plants. Compared to other alternatives, it is a cost-effective and reliable platform.
Globally, North America and Europe are the biggest markets for the companies operating in nanotechnology. Together, they account for almost 70% of market share. Though the market for North America is seeing a declining phase after the recent economic downturn, it is expected to bounce back with potential investment in various business sectors. With a market share of 25%, APAC is third biggest and fastest growing regional market for carbon nanotubes primarily due to the inflow of FDI in energy and healthcare sectors as well as the growing demand for specialised materials. Growing industrialisation in China and India are the other major driving factors for carbon nanotubes.
Electronics and transportation are the key market segments which will see a massive investment in the APAC region. China, being the global leader in electronics market, will witness a massive investment in carbon nanotubes in the future. India, on the other hand,is the market hub for automation industries. It contributes almost 22% of India’s manufacturing sector. With 100% FDI inflow in the automation sector in India, the market seems promising for enterprises operating their business in carbon nanotubes. China’s electronics industry has witnessed a massive double digit growth since 2001. Though Chinese nanotube markets pace has been reduced by the 21stcentury economic downturn, it soon regained its growth momentum by 2009. With carbon nanotubes, it is expected that China will soon repeat its double digit growth in the next few years. Besides the transportation and electronics segments, APAC is set to witness a CAGR growth of 49.2% (2014-2018) in the field of nanotechnology for energy sectors. The aged population in India and China is the other key factor that is driving the healthcare market in the APAC region. Carbon nanotubes with its cost effective and reliable solutions is set to penetrate the healthcare market in APAC in the coming years.
Nanocyl S.A, Arkema S.A. (France), CNano Technology Ltd. (USA), Bayer MaterialScience AG, Showa Denko K.K. and Hyperion Catalysis International Inc. (U.S.) are some of the leading companies in the carbon nanotube market. With rising popularity of carbon nanotube technology, global market will witness many new emerging players in this sector.
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Going through the potential benefits of carbon nanotubes, there is almost no doubt that this is the promising technology of the future. It is expected to grow at double digit CAGR over the next 6 years. Though the biomedical and automotive industries will be the leading end-use sectors for carbon nanotubes, automotive industries will see a massive surge in investment in coming days. Developed economies, i.e. USA, Japan and the European nations, are investing lump sum amounts in R&D to expand the commercial horizons of carbon nanotubes.