January 2011
  • 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.

December 2010
  • December 22, 2010 Category: Advanced Materials Renewable Energy

    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 2010
  • 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.

  • November 22, 2010 Category: Emerging Electronics Smart Technology

    Supercapacitors are one of those technologies that have been around for a long time, have been the subject of numerous R&D programs, and yet have never demonstrated commercial lift off.   However, NanoMarkets’ latest market analysis of this field suggests that the supercapacitor market could present substantial opportunities if the supplier community can successfully reposition the technology away from being just another energy storage device that compares unfavorably with batteries to one that meets the needs of hybrid/electric (and eventually electric) vehicles, electricity grids and consumer electronics.   In a recent NanoMarkets report, we projected that the supercapacitor market will grow from around $400 million this year (2010) to approximately $3.0 billion in 2016.

  • November 18, 2010 Category: Advanced Materials Renewable Energy

    To remain relevant, TF Si PV needs a breakthrough in cost or efficiency to compete long term with the other TFPV technologies.  On the absorber material front, the move from tandem junction cells containing Germanium to tandem cells with microcrystalline silicon as the lower absorber are a good first step to reducing cost/watt.  Silane demand will grow as microcrystalline silicon becomes the lower absorber material of choice. 

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