After years of playing second fiddle to indium tin oxide, ITO, alternative transparent conductors have reached their market takeoff point. So says a just-released report from NanoMarkets, an industry analyst firm based here that tracks the transparent conductor market.
The report titled, "Transparent Conductor Markets 2010: ITO and the Alternatives" While alternative transparent conductors will account for just 5 percent of transparent conductor revenues in 2010, by 2015 that share will have grown to almost 20 percent. According to NanoMarkets latest projections, the entire transparent conductor market (including ITO) will be worth $5.6 billion in 2015.
Further details about the report including a table of contents and an excerpt can be found on the firm's website at http://nanomarkets.net/market_reports/report/transparent_conductor_markets_2010_ito_and_the_alternatives/.
NanoMarkets' new report states that the fast growth projected for alternative transparent conductors is due to the fact that the cost of ITO is once again rising leading to pressures on profit margins for display makers. At the same time, transparent conductors have matured technologically and are capable of delivering higher performance giving display makers a good reason to consider using them. The market for ITO alternatives is also being driven by the continued growth in the thin-film solar panel market where ITO alternatives have been in widespread use for some time.
This current bullishness about non-ITO transparent conductors is in marked contrast to the situation reported in NanoMarkets' 2009 ITO report where low ITO prices depressed the ITO alternatives market. In this new report, NanoMarkets shows that, while ITO alternatives will still have advantages in market niches such as the touch-screen market and future applications, notably flexible displays, these alternative materials now have a compelling story to tell for large mass market applications in the display and PV industries.
Highlights of the report:
- Thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) manufacturers have moved away from ITO and won't be coming back. Other transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) will increasingly substitute for ITO in this application creating a cost-driven market for TCOs that was largely unanticipated a few years back. By 2015, NanoMarkets expects the non-ITO TCO market to reach $320 million, three times what it is today. Manufacturers of thin-film silicon PV are expected to move away from ITO en masse as a way of keeping their panels competitive with other more efficient types of photovoltaics.
- Cambrios and Cima NanoTech have pioneered a new type of transparent conductive inks consisting of a suspension of silver nanowires. The value proposition for transparent nanosilver coatings is not in the material costs-they are higher-but in the savings on deposition equipment and processes. NanoMarkets believes that conservative display makers will adopt it transparent nanosilver first in electromagnetic shielding as a "trial run" before using it in more mission critical applications. By 2015, NanoMarkets projections show transparent nanosilver inks producing $370 million in revenues making it the largest single category of alternative transparent conductor.
- While, alternatives to ITO will grow rapidly, NanoMarkets still expects ITO to dominate the transparent conductor market for years to come. Sales of ITO are expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2015. Initially, the use of ITO will be motivated by short-term concerns about disrupting existing processes or reduce existing economies of scale. However, increasingly ITO will be used only when the highest visual quality and brightness is required.
About the report:
In this new report NanoMarkets analyzes the transparent conductor market, covering ITO, ITO inks, other TCOs, organic conductors, transparent nanotube and graphene coatings and nano-metallic coatings. The report examines how each of these materials fits into the current and future requirements for a broad variety products including flat panel displays, e-paper and flexible displays, touch-screen displays, OLED lighting, thin-film and organic PV and EMI/RFI coatings.
This report will be essential reading for firms making materials intended to challenge ITO in the marketplace as well as the ITO community itself. In addition, it will be of interest to any firm that is concerned about the changing value propositions of transparent conductors, in the display, PV and lighting industries and it includes eight-year volume and value forecasts of ITO and ITO alternatives as well as a discussion of strategies for market success in this market.
Companies mentioned in this report include Agfa, AimCore, Apple, Applied Vacuum Coating, Ascent Solar, Cambridge Display Technology, Cambrios, Chisso, Cima NanoTech, Eikos, Evonik Degussa, Fujitsu, Guardian Industries, GemTech Optoelectronics, Hakusei Tech, H.C. Starck, Heiwagenshi, Henmi Slide Rule, Henkel Electronics, Idemitsu, Indium Corporation, Keeling and Walker, Mitsui Mining and Smelting, Nanophase, Nippon Kodoshi, Patterning Technologies, Philips, Sigma Technologies, Nippon Mining & Metals, Samsung Corning, Silicon Display Technology, Sumitomo Metal Mining, Tosa Denshi, Tosoh, Unidym, Vorbeck Materials, Wistron, Yamazaki Giken and ZNO Lab.