Look Towards A New Future

Aug 20, 2012

Graphene: Technologies, Applications and Markets

  • The global market for graphene-based products is projected to reach $122.9 million in 2017 and $986.7 million in 2022, increasing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51.7%.
  • The segment made up of capacitors is projected to be the largest segment in 2022. Capacitors are expected to increase from $31 million in value in 2017 to $410 million in 2022, a CAGR of 67.6%.
  • Structural materials are expected to jump from $44.5 million in 2017 to $167.6 million in 2022, a CAGR of 30.4%.
In October 2010, two University of Manchester (U.K.) scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics for their research on graphene.  Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon whose strength, flexibility, and electrical conductivity have opened up new horizons for high-energy particle physics research and electronic, optical, and energy applications.

Potential electronics applications of graphene include ultrasmall transistors, superdense data storage, touch screens, and wearable electronics.  In the energy field, potential applications include ultracapacitors to store and transmit electrical power, and highly efficient solar cells.

Some researchers argue that graphene’s greatest potential lies in its ability to conduct light as well as electricity.  They believe that graphene can improve the efficiency of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and aid in the production of next-generation devices like flexible touch screens, photodetectors, and ultrafast lasers.

This report is an updated version of an earlier BCC Research report published in 2011.  Since that time, the graphene field has continued to develop rapidly, and BCC believes that an update that covers the most recent advances in graphene technologies and applications will be useful to readers.

Graphene offers seemingly endless possibilities.  However, intuition alone tells us that not all of these possibilities are likely to become reality.  The goal of this report is to survey emerging graphene technologies and applications, identify those that are most likely to achieve significant commercial sales in the next 5 years to 10 years, and develop quantitative estimates of potential sales.

The report’s specific objectives support this broad goal.  These objectives include identifying the graphene technologies and applications with the greatest commercial potential in the 2012-to-2022 time frame, identifying market drivers and evaluating obstacles to their successful commercialization, and projecting future sales.

This report is intended especially for marketing executives, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, and other readers with a need to know where the emerging graphene market is headed over the next five to 10 years.  Although the report is organized around specific technologies, it is largely nontechnical in nature and coverage.  That is, it is concerned less with theory and jargon than with what works, how much of the latter the market is likely to purchase, and at what price.

The report has not been written specifically for scientists and technologists.  However, the report’s findings concerning the market for their work, including the availability of government and corporate research funding for different technologies and applications, should interest this audience as well.

The report addresses emerging global markets for graphene, including the applications listed below:
  • Computing/data processing.
  • Data storage.
  • Communications.
  • Thermal management.
  • Displays.
  • Solar cells.
  • Sensing and imaging.
  • Capacitors.
  • Structural materials.
  • Miscellaneous other applications.
The study format includes and/or addresses the following major elements:
  • Executive summary.
  • Definitions.
  • General properties of graphene.
  • Historical milestones in the development of graphene.
  • Emerging and developmental graphene technologies and applications that have the greatest commercial potential through 2022.
  • Detailed market estimates and projections for each application and material during the period from 2012 to 2017.
  • General assessment of expected market trends in the longer term (2017 to 2022).
  • Companies that are producing or developing commercial graphene applications.
  • Patent analysis.
Projecting the market for emerging technologies, whose commercial potential has not yet been proven, is a challenging task.  This is nowhere more true than in the graphene field, which may help to explain why many analysts focus on supply-side technology assessments.

However, BCC’s objective in this report is to provide not just a technology assessment but also an initial assessment of the potential commercial market for graphene.  To accomplish this objective, BCC used a multiphase approach to identify the graphene applications with the greatest commercial potential and to quantify the related markets.

In the first phase of the analysis, BCC identified a long list of potential graphene applications, including those that are still under development.  In the second phase, BCC eliminated those applications that appear to have little likelihood of making it into commercial use in the next five to 10 years, based on a literature review and interviews with industry sources.  The result of the second phase was a short list of graphene applications with the greatest commercial potential over the time period covered by this report.

The third phase focused on quantifying the potential market for each application on the resulting list and identifying the main prerequisites for commercial success.  Phase three actually had two components:  (1) the development of near-to-mid-term (2012 to 2017) projections, and (2) the development of longer-term (2017 to 2022) projections.  The development of such long-term projections is a departure from the usual BCC report format, necessitated by the long time frame for commercialization of many of the technologies analyzed in this report.  Obviously, the projections for the years beyond 2017 are more tentative than the projections for 2012 to 2017.

The specific assumptions and approaches that BCC used to develop the projections (both near/mid-term and long-term) for each graphene application are documented in detail under the various applications addressed.  This way, readers can see how the market estimates were developed and, if they so desire, test how changing the underlying assumptions would impact the final numbers.

One of the approaches used by BCC deserves special mention here.  Particularly in the case of graphene applications that are still under development, BCC used the sales performance of non-graphene applications that share some of the same functions or other characteristics of the graphene application as a benchmark for assessing the latter’s sales potential.


Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC.  He is the author of a number of other BCC Research market opportunity reports on advanced materials technologies, including the previous edition of this report.  He is also the author of AVM067B Metamaterials: Technologies and Global Markets; AVM066B Superconductors:  Technologies and Global Markets; AVM038D Advanced Structural Carbon Products:  Fibers, Foams & Composites; NAN017F Nanostructured Materials:  Electronic/Magnetic/Optoelectronic;  AVM050B Smart and Interactive Textiles; AVM015F High-Performance Ceramic Coatings:  Markets and Technologies; AVM025G Diamond, Diamond-Like and CBN Films and Coating Products; NAN015F Advanced Ceramics and Nanoceramic Powders;  and NAN036B Nanotechnology for Photonics:  Global Markets.

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Report Details:
Published: July 2012
No. of Pages: 131
Price: Single User License:US$ 4850 Corporate User License:US$8500