Promising Applications in Electronics, Energy Storage and Composites to Drive Global Graphene Market
The global market for graphene is projected to reach $125 million by 2020, driven by promising applications in the electronics, healthcare, transport, energy storage, composites and textile industries, according to a recent report from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Graphene, which is one million times thinner than human hair, is 200 times tougher than steel.
Interest in graphene is attributable to its five unique properties: super strength, ultra-thinness, extremely high conductivity, versatility, and cost. Superior mechanical, electrical, magnetic and thermal properties promise wide prospects for graphene. Development of graphene is still in the R&D stage, and mass production is yet to be realized. Despite its current niche market profile, global demand for graphene is projected to increase in the coming years, supported by anticipated breakthroughs that will enable successful commercial production.
The annual global demand for semiconductor silicon is approximately 2,500 tons. The untapped opportunities for substitution of crystalline silicon by graphene therefore remain huge. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, IBM, Xerox, Sony, Lockheed Martin and Saab are competing with each other to file patents for graphene-related technologies. Future growth in the market will be driven by potential graphene-based products that are currently in various stages of research and commercialization. These include super-capacitors; leak-proof, plastic containers for keeping food fresh for extended periods; transparent conductive paints for displays and solar cells; stronger medical implants; stronger wind turbines; improved sports equipment; enhanced conductivity of materials; high-frequency, high-power electronic equipment; advanced touchscreens, LCDs and OLEDs; and artificial membranes for compartmentalizing two liquid reservoirs, among others.
Circuitry based on extremely conductive graphene will enable consumer electronic devices to deliver unprecedented levels of power and speed. Availability of graphene-based super-capacitor batteries is expected to enable high-speed, long-lasting charging of mobile Internet devices, including smartphones. In addition, graphene also holds the potential of being used for developing extremely efficient solar cells, and/or coating lithium-ion battery electrodes, which not only facilitate high-speed charging of batteries, but also increase their storage capacity. Graphene is also expected to find use in the development of electric vehicles, which are capable of covering up to 300 miles on a single charge and are significantly lighter and stronger compared to traditional vehicles made from steel and plastic. In addition, graphene is expected to enable the development of tablet computers that are no longer bulky, stiff, book-shaped devices, but thin sheets capable of being rolled up and carried in pockets.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest and the fastest-growing market worldwide, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.7% over the analysis period. China, the country with the world’s largest graphite reserves and currently the world’s largest producer of graphene, is spearheading global commercialization and R&D efforts.
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