NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
February 19, 2013 Category: Renewable Energy
Solar energy storage with lead-acid batteries is as old as the solar energy industry itself. Off-grid photovoltaics (PV) has invariably used such batteries – in some cases just car batteries – to store energy produced during sunny periods. Until recently the market for grid-connected PV storage has been negligible, but this is changing. As feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) are reduced – and NanoMarkets expects this trend to continue globally – incentives are emerging for both residential and commercial PV users to store the solar energy they generate when the sun shines.
The solar storage business is thus doubly blessed. Not only has its opportunity space increased because of the growing number of PV installations as a whole, but non-utility, grid-connected PV has become a target has become a target market for storage for the first time.
As NanoMarkets reports in “Opportunities for Smart Mirrors: Self-Dimming and Beyond 2013-2020”, the size of the market for smart mirror technologies is already at approximately $1 billion in 2013, and we expect the value to grow to over $3.4 billion by the end of the decade.
Some of this growth will come from increasing deployment of electrochromic self-dimming rear-view mirrors, both interior and exterior versions, like those on the market today from firms like Gentex and Magna. There is an existing, proven demand for these mirrors; they are already found in over one-fifth of new automobiles, and the proportion is expected to steadily grow over the next eight years. In fact, for many years now, the term “smart mirror” has been taken to mean just these self-dimming automotive mirrors.
February 07, 2013 Category: Advanced Materials
Nanosilver inks and pastes have been under development for some time. One of the major claims of printable nanosilver has been that, although it is certainly more costly on a per-weight-unit basis, less of the material is needed to achieve the same level of conductivity compared to conventional materials. In addition, nanosilver's smaller particle size enables lower-temperature sintering and inherently higher resolution in printed patterns.
But these claims have not resulted in successful commercialization of printed nanosilver on a large scale:
January 14, 2013 Category: Advanced Materials
As reported in NanoMarkets’ most recent report on industrial silver, NanoMarkets estimates that the total global market for silver inks and pastes in 2013 will be approximately $7.8 billion, but that it will slowly contract over the next eight years to about $7.5 billion by 2020. The decline in the overall market is due primarily to two factors (1) the persistently high price of silver, which retards the use of silver inks and pastes in cost-sensitive applications, of which there are quite a few and (2) the decline in the biggest market for silver inks and pastes; photovoltaics.
In the past year, we have seen the flexible glass suppliers expand their commercialization efforts. Corning officially launched Willow Glass in 2012, its 100-μm-thick material designed for lightweight, cost-efficient display products. AGC is offering a 100-μm-thick flexible glass material for "sheet-to-sheet" handling. And Schott's D 263 eco product is available in sheet form with thicknesses down to 25 μm.
In its earliest days, flexible glass was often associated with the intrinsically flexible display concept. This connection is natural; one advantage of flexible glass is that it offers the superior performance of glass – high barrier performance, durability, and clarity – but in a flexible format. But unfortunately for manufacturers of flexible glass there do not yet seem to be any good demand-side reasons for such displays.
While the current electrical grid is a modern marvel, there is a general consensus that it needs to be upgraded to a Smart Grid with grid storage. Energy storage is, in fact, a vital component of the coming Smart Grid, and NanoMarkets predicts that new materials and systems for chemical batteries and supercapacitors for Smart Grid electrical storage applications represent a significant opportunity.
Even though pumped hydro is the most efficient means for storing generated power for later use, NanoMarkets believes that chemical batteries and supercapacitors represent the biggest growth opportunity for most applications, as they are not limited to certain geological locations and do not have the potential environmental impact issues of pumped hydro.
December 12, 2012 Category: Advanced Materials
As the flexible glass business has moved forward, NanoMarkets believes the firms involved have become increasingly focused on where and when money will be made with this new material. In its earliest days, flexible glass was seen as being somehow connected to the flexible display concept. However, this association is much less apparent today. Instead, flexible glass is now seen as serving more immediate demands for mobile display applications.
NanoMarkets believes that there are, however, indications that self-cleaning windows have a bright future. The trends that impress us here are mostly technological in nature, but this shouldn't be taken to mean that they are restricted in some sense to what is going on in an industrial lab.
On the contrary, what we are seeing are signs that there is a growing technological impetus behind self-cleaning windows that will enable them to meet their "obvious" market potential. NanoMarkets believes that these newer technologies—and riffs on older technologies—will (1) improve the performance standards for self-cleaning windows and (2) make such windows more affordable.
Given the overall disappointing results to date for printed electronics, it is perhaps surprising that there has been something of a revival of interest in strategic printed electronics in the last couple of years. Not surprisingly, this effort is much more modest than the narrative of developing a large and distinct PE industry, and in the sense that the number of applications to which the new PE is directed are fairly limited.
There are a number of ways that these efforts could be viewed. A cynic might view them as no more than a last desperate gasp of firms that were active in the second phase of PE story. However, NanoMarkets believes that there are now genuine opportunities to be had as the result of PE development and that this new kind of PE, which we are going to call Printed Electronics V3.0, can learn from the failures of the past, both in applications and in printing itself, to generate new business revenues.
The OLED encapsulation sector has changed considerably in the past two years. OLEDs have broken out of their previous niche market pattern, in which they were used mostly for simple, passive matrix displays for MP3 players, cell-phone sub-displays, etc., that had modest encapsulation needs well served by simple cover glass technologies.
Today, however, the OLED industry is booming, with full-color, active-matrix (AM) OLEDs leading the way. Indeed, OLED displays have gone mainstream, and OLED lighting is not far behind:
• OLED displays are the fastest growing primary display type in mass-market smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computing products.
• Meanwhile, OLED lighting is now on the market in the form of designer light kits, as well as in luxury luminaires, and NanoMarkets is predicting that larger segments of the lighting market are likely to be penetrated by OLED lighting in the next few years.
• OLED TVs appear to be – finally – on the verge of mass-market introduction, with products from Samsung and LG expected in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
These trends mean that the addressable market for OLED encapsulation materials is rapidly growing and should continue to do so.