NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
March 01, 2011 Category: Advanced Materials
The business cases for ITO alternatives have historically focused on being an "antidote" for ITO's high cost, brittleness, and whatever else could be perceived as a negative aspect of ITO. And with indium prices volatile and reaching as high as $1,000 per kilogram, it seemed as though it would only be a matter of time before many—or even all—ITO users were beating down the doors to get the magic elixir. About four years ago, for example, NanoMarkets researchers were told by a manufacturer of carbon nanotube films that within a few years as much as 50 percent of LCDs would use carbon nanotube films instead of ITO.
Despite the end of the silicon shortage and the economic problems that beset much of the developed world, and the construction industry in particular, the prospects for thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) still look quite good. The thin-film silicon sector is recovering from a bad couple of years as it has both adapted to the end of the silicon shortage and weeded out non-productive suppliers. First Solar, which dominates the CdTe sector, seems to have survived the downturn quite nicely. And the CIGS sector, while it has yet to keep its promise of high-efficiency with all the advantages of conventional solar panels, at least is still keeping that promise alive. In addition, while the end of the silicon shortage may have got rid of one of the main reasons why TFPV experienced a boom in the first place, the fact that TFPV can offer flexible PV products for building-integrated PV (BIPV) applications is a new reason why TFPV might be chosen over conventional PV.
January 10, 2011 Category: Advanced Materials
There are some segments of the PV industry that are chomping at the bit for better encapsulation solutions; better either from the standpoint of performance or cost. In order to make money in the encapsulation business it is important to understand where performance is needed. NanoMarkets’ research indicates that the best markets for advanced encapsulation firms to concentrate on are thus CIGS PV and OPV.
January 04, 2011 Category: Advanced Materials
Often described as a class of “miracle” advanced materials that will transform electronics and photovoltaics, the actual record of conductive polymers has been decidedly mixed. For example, the expectations for polymer-based photovoltaics, or conductive polymers as a transparent conductive coating, have never been met. And in the one area where organic electronics has taken off commercially—OLEDs—it is organic small molecule materials that have been widely used, not polymers. To the extent that conductive polymers have been used in commercial applications, they have tended to be low-value applications; notably anti-statics.
This underachievement of conductive polymers has not been widely recognized, especially by trade, business and popular science publications which go on reporting on these materials as if they were highly successful in the marketplace, or at least soon will be. As we have noted, however, this does not seem to be the case. But this is not to say that conductive polymers do not have a commercial future. This future, NanoMarkets believes, will depend on the clear identification of specific high-value applications where the use of conductive polymers makes sense because of their unique properties; that is, all the advantages of plastics with conductivity too. It also depends on the resolution of a handful of important technical problems that continue to beset the conductive polymer business.
Organic PV (OPV) and Dye Sensitized Cell (DSC) PV have arguably been the two PV technologies that have struggled the most when it comes to making progress toward high-volume commercialization. This is for several reasons including cost, conversion efficiency, and durability. In direct competition with inorganic thin-film PV and crystalline silicon PV, OPV and DSC simply cannot compare on these fronts. Instead, OPV and DSC are being forced to compete in lower-volume areas where their unique advantages (mentioned below) exclude competitive PV technologies in some way, and cost and conversion efficiency are less critical factors.
December 21, 2010 Category: Renewable Energy
NanoMarkets has been tracking the photovoltaics industry and believes it is at a crossroads. A combination of factors now threaten to send the PV industry, kicking and screaming, back to the days when it catered to no more than a niche market. At the same time, PV technology is maturing and there is a growing realization that standard PV panels are becoming commoditized.
December 21, 2010 Category: Smart Technology
NanoMarkets/Smart Grid Analysis’ latest research suggests that a sweet spot for the emerging microgrid market is to be found in the institutional/campus market segment. According to our analysis, no other segment comes close in terms of market size; institutional/campus grids will already generate over $400 million in revenue in 2011. This segment will also grow faster than any other segments, except the specialized military market and the niche-like “off-grid” market. By the time 2017 rolls around, we expect the worldwide market for institutional/campus microgrids to have reached well over $1.0 billion.
December 01, 2010 Category: Advanced Materials
Having studied the market for silver inks and pastes for five years now, NanoMarkets believes that any substitution away from silver inks and pastes will occur at the margin; there will be no wholesale abandonment of such inks and pastes. Silver is entrenched in the conductive printing market simply because it is, without any reasonable dissension, the best material for the job. In most cases, users of silver inks and pastes can’t do much more than reduce waste and shop around for the lowest-cost suppliers that fill their needs.
November 29, 2010 Category: OLEDs
With new companies entering the OLED lighting business seemingly every month, it is increasingly vital to go beyond the hype and identify why the world really needs OLED lighting and how the manufacturing and marketing of OLED lighting can generate new business revenues. Certainly even a casual look at the OLED lighting space so far suggests that there are at least four reasons to be skeptical about OLED lighting’s prospects:
November 29, 2010 Category: Advanced Materials
In its report on carbon inks, pastes and coatings, NanoMarkets has identified a new breed of applications in the energy sector where conventional carbon inks and pastes have an important role to play and where substantial revenue opportunities will be available over the next five to eight years. Carbon materials suppliers who can sell a “green tech” marketing story will be able to distinguish themselves in the marketplace with products which are, by all appearances, not garden variety carbon pastes.