Look Towards A New Future

Jul 26, 2012

Global Markets and Technologies for Carbon Nanotubes

  • The global market for various carbon nanotubes (CNT) grades was $192 million in 2011. In 2012, it is estimated to generate nearly $239 million in revenues, and projected to grow over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4%, reaching $527 million by 2016.
  • The global market for multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) is estimated to rise from $219 million in 2012 to $292 million in 2016, a CAGR of 9.1% between 2011 and 2016.
  • The global market for few-walled carbon nanotubes (FWNTs) is estimated to reach $1.8 million in 2012 and $120 million in 2016, a CAGR of 131.6% between 2011 and 2016.



Among the numerous categories in the evolving field of newly synthesized nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are perhaps among the most dynamic and undergoing the most rapid pace of development.  The past five years have witnessed relentless growth in the research, development and technological understanding of these remarkable materials.  Universities, small businesses and start-ups, as well as large corporations, have continued to probe and exploit numerous commercial possibilities for these fascinating materials.  As a result, the list of product applications is expanding considerably and is projected to do so well into the future.

The most tangible evidence for growth and interest is reflected by the emergence of new CNT producers now capable of offering CNTs in commercial-scale quantities—in kilograms, tonnes and even hundreds of tonnes, depending on the specific grade—at more affordable and increasingly competitive unit pricing.  In addition, after several years of incubation, there is a new breed of more mature university spin-offs, or nanotechnology companies, targeting specific application sectors.  Additional evidence of growth is the increasing presence of larger, more established corporations that recognize the future market opportunities offered by CNTs.  Finally, over the past five years, there has been phenomenal growth in patent activity.  In 2010 alone, the number of issued CNT-related U.S. patents reached 1,585, an increase of 54% over the previous year. In 2011, this increased more moderately, by 7.7%, but nonetheless reached an annual output record of 1,707.  For patents pending, the situation is even more dramatic, with a cumulative backlog from 2001 to 2011 now totaling 16,775. For the current review period (2010 to 2011 total output alone reached 54% of the previous period (2001 to 2009).

In view of the technical momentum—representing a multibillion-dollar technology investment—and the enormous business potential, this report provides a timely update on CNTs—their level of technical maturity, where they are starting to penetrate the marketplace, and when and where the broadening market unravels.


The primary objectives of this report are threefold:

  • Assess the current state-of-the-art in CNT production and technical applications understanding.
  • Identify the current players seeking to exploit their unique properties.
  • Evaluate actual or impending markets in terms of the technical readiness of CNTs and the projected market revenues.
SCOPE OF REPORTThis updated report is divided into the following nine major chapters:

CHAPTER THREE—TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW defines, outlines the history, describes the production methodology, identifies the unique properties of various forms of CNTs and emphasizes the major application challenges.

CHAPTER FOUR—PATENT ANALYSIS provides an extensive search/analysis of U.S. issued and pending patents (along with Canadian, European and WPTO databases where there is no USPTO presence), a collation of the main technical/application sectors and identifies the most active organizations—U.S. and foreign—driving CNT technology.

CHAPTER FIVE—INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS identifies current producers, progress in continuous production scale-up, market segmentation and an industry profile covering the major players.

CHAPTER SIX—MARKETS BY APPLICATION represents the body of the report assessing the latest progress and technical readiness in the major application sectors of composites, electronics, energy storage, membranes, sensors and other applications.

CHAPTER SEVEN—GLOBAL MARKET ANALYSIS estimates five-year potential revenues of all notable CNT producers.

CHAPTER EIGHT—NORTH AMERICAN MARKET ANALYSIS estimates five-year potential revenues of U.S. and Canadian CNT producers.

CHAPTER NINE—EUROPEAN MARKET ANALYSIS estimates five-year potential revenues of European CNT producers.

CHAPTER TEN—ASIAN MARKET ANALYSIS estimates five-year potential revenues of Asian CNT producers.

CHAPTER ELEVEN—MARKET PULL: PROGNOSIS FOR GLOBAL CNT APPLICATIONS identifies the most promising applications realizable based on the leading proponents, technical readiness and market interest.

This report represents a major update to BCC Research’s report, Carbon Nanotubes: Technologies and Global Markets, NAN024D, published in January 2010.  The most significant revisions in this new edition include the following:
  • An extensive patent analysis of the U.S. patent database.
  • An in-depth assessment of the unfolding commercial markets.
  • Progress in the synthesis and commercial scale-up of CNTs.
  • Extensive compilation of the producers and end users dictating market development.
  • A five-year projected market analysis of the emerging CNT industry.
This comprehensive technical and business assessment on the current status of the CNT industry should prove informative to nanomaterials manufacturers, investors seeking near-term commercialization opportunities, technologists confronted with nanomaterial device integration issues and companies interested in exploiting revolutionary nanomaterials for advanced composites, biomedical, electronic, energy storage, membranes/separation, sensing, security and other emerging applications.

This report is primarily derived from the enormous amount of patent and technical literature relating to CNTs disclosed in the public domain.  In addition, complementary information has also been drawn from the business community, such as company investment news, company profiles, press releases and personal telephone interviews with selected companies.

John Oliver, the author of this report, is the founder of Innov8 Solutions, which provides advanced materials consultation services to industrial clients.  He has more than 30 years of industrial R&D experience in surface and colloid science spanning a wide range of materials technology.  Primarily, working as a senior scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada, he developed an invaluable understanding in advanced materials used in digital printing technologies such as xerography and ink-jet printing (IJP).  In the past 10 years through his involvements with the Alberta Research Council and several Alberta universities, his interests have evolved into the realm of nanomaterials and microsystems device integration.  He has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from McGill University, and a BSc degree in Chemistry from Surrey University, U.K.  His publications include more than 40 technical peer-reviewed technical articles and 20 patents. Between 2005 and 2009, he was the editor of BCC’s monthly Nanoparticle News and has authored five previous BCC Research’s nanomaterial technical reports, Quantum Dots: Technical Status and Market Prospects (GB-278, NAN027B/NAN027C) and Carbon Nanotubes: Technologies and Commercial Prospects (NAN024C, NAN024D).

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Report Details:
Published: July 2012
No. of Pages: 398

Price: Single User License- US $4850                Corporate User License- US $ 8500
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