Nano Zirconia, with zirconium dioxide as key ingredient, constitutes nano composite zirconia after being added with rare-earth elements (primarily yttrium oxide) and other oxides. Nano composite zirconia gets widely used in fields like grinding materials, coating, fuel cell, artificial teeth, automobile exhaust catalyst promoter, etc.
As its industrialization is under way for just three decades, nano composite zirconia's applications in only grinding media and oxygen sensor have become mature, while other applicable areas are experiencing a fast growing period and even at the initial stage. In 2014, the global sales volume of nano composite zirconia totaled roughly 40,000 tons, which generated revenue of RMB14 billion. And China's nano composite zirconia market capacity approximated 7,000 tons.
Globally, the nano composite zirconia capacity spreads mainly in Europe and Japan, with the companies with complete industrial layout including Saint-Gobain, Tosoh, and DKKK. In addition, the players like Showa Denko, Solvay, and Sumitomo Osaka Cement occupy an important position in some market segments.
Domestically, only Sinocera and Jiujiujiu were the first to make technological breakthroughs and began pilot production. Sinocera's scale of pilot production totaled 200t/a. In the first half of 2014, its nano composite zirconia segment contributed revenue of RMB4.809 million, versus the operating cost of RMB2.961 million. Additionally, the company announced a 1,500 t/a expansion plan, according to which the products (700 tons) from the first phase of the project would be very likely released in the second quarter of 2015.
Jiujiujiu has developed the about 10nm, 20nm, 40nm, and 80nm series of nano composite zirconium dioxide powder. At present, the company's pilot project is in trial production.