NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
The solar panel industry now seems back on track following the boom-and-bust period. It's still a sector dominated by crystalline silicon, but the current upswing means that the search is on once more for materials platforms that improve the conversion efficiency of solar panels, and efforts have been rebooted to hone and ultimately commercialize these next-generation materials.
Some of them are close at hand, such as novel approaches to doping silicon panels. Meanwhile, the thin-film PV sector continues to seek success against entrenched c-Si; this could come from improvements to CdTe and CIGS, while other thin-film materials are beginning to receive serious commercial attention. The solar industry also is beginning to think out of the box with a slew of entirely new nanomaterials such as quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes and graphene.
Here's a rundown of what we see emerging in next-gen solar PV materials
August 20, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
"Smart grids" promise to solve many of these problems by enabling broad knowledge and control of operations at all levels, from generation to transmission & distribution to end-use, to help better understand and take action regarding areas that are key to maintaining grid health and stability. These will depend upon real-time collection and communication of a wide range of data throughout the grid. Examples include measuring voltage and inductance levels in the T&D network, time synchronization and equipment temperatures at substations, and smart meters and energy conservation in homes and businesses.
All these multiple sensing, monitoring, and control functions will translate into enormous opportunities for various types of sensors. Below are some of the specific market opportunities NanoMarkets anticipates -- some of which need more time to be available or become reliable.
August 19, 2014 Category: OLEDs
So the big question for the OLED makers is whether (1) OLEDs will go the way of PDPs and EPDs or if (2) there is something genuinely new and exciting to be had in OLED technology. NanoMarkets is firmly in the second camp and thinks that the OLED sector will generate $3.7 billion in materials alone by 2019. OLEDs are not only a display technology but also a lighting technology, and this “dual-use” aspect of OLEDs will ultimately “save” OLEDs from the fate of PDPs and EPDs.
August 06, 2014 Category:
NanoMarkets has been covering the transparent conductor (TCs) market for just under a decade. During that time we have observed the market’s initial excitement and subsequent disappointment in the prospects of ITO alternatives. The technologies’ immaturity had a great deal to do with this failure but combined with the market’s unwillingness to adopt replacement solutions, significant corrections in the PV market, the resilience of LCD display technologies and the overpromising/underestimating by the vendor community resulted in what appeared to be another hype story gone bad.
However, within the past two years we have seen alternative TCs finally emerge as a serious business opportunity. Not only have they improved their performance compared to ITO, but they have found a fast growing application – touch-screen sensors – whose manufactures seem willing to accept alternative TCs as much more than just a “science experiment”: In 2014 we expect that between 10-15 percent of touch-screen sensors will use alternative TCs. And, that penetration number will only grow over the coming decade. Since touch sensing is expected to become increasingly common for displays over the same period, it seem that touch is a good place to be for alternative TCs right now.
July 22, 2014 Category: Renewable Energy
The multimillion-dollar question about BIPV is this: what will convince customers -- architects, builders, and homeowners, even construction materials suppliers and financing entities -- to justify the extra expense in a BIPV application? Companies and organizations continue to improve and innovate around the technologies involve with building-integrated photovoltaics (PV), from new cell designs and technologies such as PERC, metal wrap-through, and "smart wire" structures, to new and improved materials from thin-film CIGS to dye-sensitized and organic PV, and the latest solar PV wonder-material perovskite. Standardization will help reduce the complexity (and thus costs) of BIPV installations; this already has made some headway in the U.K. for products such as roof tiles and shingles. These are needed progress in performance and cost reductions, but they're not enough.
July 21, 2014 Category: Renewable Energy
Any PV technology that hopes to compete with c-Si in today’s solar energy world must solve several problems: raise conversion efficiencies to around those of silicon-based cells (at least 20 percent), lower costs below that of c-Si (roughly $0.40-$0.50/Watt), or find specific niche markets where an alternative PV technology's features and capabilities are an acceptable tradeoff for lower cost/performance, such as flexibility.
In the past few months, the thin-film CIGS sector has made impressive progress in solving part of that equation. It's eclipsed the top efficiency mark of polysilicon-based cells (20.4 percent), and hasn't looked back:
Generally speaking, NanoMarkets sees DSC-enabled BIPV applications likely inching closer to mass production levels toward the end of the decade, with the first commercial production of DSC modules coming within a five-year window from leading manufacturers such as Dyseol and 3GSolar. BIPV glass, the current hot-spot for DSC application, has channeled many investments and pilot efforts, particularly in Europe but with backing from Asian partners. Our latest analysis suggests the market for DSC-enabled BIPV glass will surge from just $1.3 million to more than $256 million in 2021.
Beyond BIPV, NanoMarkets recognizes other end market opportunities for DSC that could bear fruit with higher-efficiency technology that works in low/ambient light conditions. However, we feel these are still several years further out from being viable revenue streams, and well short of the scale promised by BIPV:
July 14, 2014 Category:
NanoMarkets believes that perovskite's rapid trajectory of efficiency improvement, with potential pairing of DSC's features, could very well attract heightened interest from investors, strategically from within the industry and/or from capital markets, which could accelerate innovation and product development efforts and shorten the combined technologies' runway toward commercialization.
July 08, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
Many of the firms that jumped into the smart lighting space a few years back have disappeared or been acquired under fire sale conditions. Some apparently innovative smart lighting products have also been launched, yet have been greeted with a yawn by the lighting marketplace.
NanoMarkets continues to see smart lighting as a major business opportunity over the next decade. But we think it will take both a new kind of technology and a different focus to make it happen