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The market for graphene is expected to reach $100 million by 2018, according to “Graphene: Analysis of Technology, Markets and Players 2013-2018,” a new report from IDTechEx. There are many different types of graphene, each offering a different set of properties. The differentiating parameters include the number of layers, purity, oxygen content, crystallinity and form (powder or sheet). Depending on the specifics of these parameters, the quality of the so-called graphene can vary, from that of the ideal material toward that of graphite oxide.
Each graphene type is manufactured using a different technique; all techniques differ in terms of their cost structure, volume production capability and, ultimately, potential target markets. The manufacturing techniques include micro-cleavage, chemical vapor deposition, liquid-phase exfoliation, oxidization-reduction and plasma.
The main market driver thus far has been the R&D sector. The industry is now gearing up to move beyond research activities and a diverse range of other applications are actively being developed, according to the report. These include RFID, smart packaging, supercapacitors, composites, ITO replacement, sensors, logic and memory.
The strength of graphene’s value proposition is different for each target market. In many cases, graphene enables performance premiums, giving space for premium pricing. Cost will remain critical, however, as graphene’s ultimate value proposition can often only be defined against the incumbent material option.
Composites and energy storage applications are expected to be the largest near-term market opportunity for graphene beyond R&D. Graphene will first penetrate markets that have low cost sensitivity but demand high performance. In the energy storage space, graphene will first be used in supercapacitor devices, mainly due to its high surface-to-volume ratio.
Graphene is forecast to have limited success in the transparent conductor market, because it falls short both on cost and performance compared to incumbent and alternative options. Market success will be limited in the transistor area, both in analogue and digital applications. This is partly due to a lack of bandgap and the high level of standards set by incumbent solutions.
For additional information, visit www.IDTechEx.com.