Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "The Global Market for Carbon Nanotubes to 2020" report to their offering.
Once the most promising of all nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes are in danger of being usurped in numerous applications by the likes of graphene. However nanotubes will remain competitive, especially in composites and electronics applications. Production volumes for nanotubes have been scaled up considerably over the last few years. Companies such as Showa Denko and Bayer are producing hundreds of tons of nanotubes per year. Prices of MWNTs now range from $45-70/kg, depending on quality, with Chinese manufacturers offering MWNTs at lower prices. SWNTs still remain too expensive for widespread application but will make a large impact in electronics applications by 2020.
Main end user markets at present for nanotubes composites for sporting goods, conductive additives for lithium-ion batteries, fuel system components, AFM tips and plastics additives. Nanotube additives in lithium-ion battery electrodes were one of the first nanotube applications marketed by Showa Denko, which has a capacity of 500 tons/year. Product development thus far has generally been as a result of collaboration between large multi-national companies and small application developers and innovative producers. Collaborations include ApNano Materials, Inc. (nanotube lubricants), Applied Nanotech, Inc. and Arima Eco Energy Technologies Corporation (photovoltaics), Nanomix and Dupont (field emission displays) and Nanoledge and a number of companies including Structil, Seal, SK Chemicals, Look Cycle, Babolat, Cobra, Suzlon Huntsman and Bayer in the sporting goods sector.
Main markets companies supply nanotubes to include:
- Academia and university laboratories
- Plastics and electronics manufacturers
- Materials and Battery companies, catalyst and automobile manufacturers
- Sensors developers
- Field emission companies
- Polymer composites and additive producers
Over the next few years nanotubes will find wider application in conducting films, super-capactitor electrodes, field emission displays, displays, chemical and biosensors, hydrogen storage, adhesives and printing inks. An interesting development is the development of nanotube-graphene hybrid materials that could have important implications for composites and conductive additives. Long-term applications will be witnessed in power transmission, aerospace and potentially photovoltaics and drug delivery.