The Growing Demand for Industrial Internet Sensors
Making the Case for Transparent OLED Displays
The Evolution of Smart Clothing: Better Fabrics and Sensors
Smart Glasses and the Evolution of Human-Computing Interfaces
Why We’re Bullish on OLED Lighting in Automotive
Smart Glasses Boom Means New Business for Optical Components and Sensor Makers
Emerging Gestural Recognition Markets
Evolving Strategies: Surveying the Landscape of Smart Grid Sensor Companies
Powering the Internet of Things: New Technologies for New Markets
Handicapping the field: How Next-Generation Solar PV Materials Will Emerge Into the Market
Where Sensors Will Rule the Smart Grid
How OLED Lighting Could “Save” the OLED Industry
Updating Perspectives on Alternative Transparent Conductors
What Market Movements Will Spur BIPV Growth?
Translating CIGS Efficiency Improvements Into Market Opportunity
Expanding the BIPV Market for DSC
DSC Markets Beyond BIPV
Perovskite and DSC: The Market Revolution Begins with BIPV
Thoughts on the Commercial Future of Smart Lighting
Silver Inks and Pastes Resurgence?
Smart Lighting Moves Beyond Energy Efficiency
Smart Lighting, Multi-Market Segment Impact
Materials Trends for BIPV Glass
Flexible Glass Firms Branch into New Applications
What of the Commercial Future of Smart Windows?
The Smart Lighting Market Is Transitioning
Metal Mesh Competitive as Transparent Conductor for Large Panels
Wearable Devices Expanding the Market for Thin Film Batteries
How Phosphors Expand the Addressable Market for LEDs
What’s New in Flexible Glass?
BIPV Glass Rebooted?
Current and Future Markets for Nanosensors
Smart Coatings Opportunities in Alternative Energy Markets
Do Photochromic Materials Have a Chance in the Smart Windows Market?
The Strategic Potential of Quantum Dots for the TV Display Industry
An Update on Dye-sensitized Solar Cell (DSC) Technology
Moving Smart Auto Glass Beyond Niche Status
Improving Prospects for LED Phosphors
Transparent Displays, Closer and Closer to Reality
Thin-Film and Printed Batteries Update
Why Smart Windows Has a Bright Future
Smart Windows and Mirror Technologies: An Opportunity Analysis
Market Opportunities for Medical Ceramics
Smart Coating Markets
Opportunities for Polymers in Medical Applications
Key Quantum Dot Markets
Three Emerging Trends Reshaping the Transparent Conductor Market
Smart Lighting, A Boon for Chip Makers?
An Update on Smart Windows
Smart Lighting Emerges
Examining Radiation Detection Technology and Market Opportunities
Checking in on Radiation Detection Materials
Rethinking OLED Lighting’s Future
The Future of the Lithium-Ion Opportunity in Solar Energy Storage
Beyond Self-Dimming: Smart Mirror Makers Seize New Opportunities
Will There Ever Be a Role for Nanosilver?
Strategic Options for Silver Ink and Paste Suppliers in a Slowly Declining Market
The Prospects for Flexible Glass Have Never Been Better
A Role for Flexible Glass in PV?
Flexible glass may find a niche market for some PV applications, with encapsulation of CIGS, DSC, OPV technologies presenting the most likely targets for generating revenues.
Despite the current gloom in the PV industry, the large size of the PV market as a whole means that even modest rates of adoption of flexible glass in the PV market can lead to significant revenues.
Specifically, a key opportunity for flexible glass in PV is the fabrication of flexible PV and/or building-integrated PV (BIPV) panels. Flexibility – and indeed roll-to-roll (R2R) fabrication – is already important to the value propositions of CIGS, OPV and DSC PV. These PV types have greater encapsulation requirements than conventional PV, making them a natural fit for flexible glass, especially when flexibility is also required.
At the same time, BIPV is a natural fit for flexible glass because BIPV would benefit from lower panel weights that ease installation and reduce the need for special architectural support. And, more importantly for flexible glass, BIPV is a premium building product that may be more able to absorb the high initial costs of a new material like flexible glass.
Revenues from flexible glass sold into the PV sector are expected to reach a fairly modest value of about $30 million in 2013, then exceed $140 million by 2015, and reach nearly $670 million by the end of the decade. Of this value, over half will come from sales into the CIGS PV sector, driven largely by the fact that CIGS PV is particularly suited to R2R processing and it is being preferentially adopted for BIPV applications, which favors the use of flexible glass in at least some products.
Longer-Term Opportunities for Flexible Glass in R2R Processing
In the long term, flexible glass may also find success in the roll-to-roll processing of displays.
The good news is that flexible glass is tailor-made for R2R processing of displays and a push for R2R will come as OLEDs start taking a bigger portion of the market. It is also encouraging that there is a dearth of facilities to build OLEDs, so there may be pent up demand for R2R OLED fabs, which could preferentially adopt flexible glass from the start.
The bad news is that R2R will be adopted slowly elsewhere in the display market; display makers have made large and ongoing investments in batch mode fabrication.
What Price Flexible Glass?
Current prices for flexible glass are very high and NanoMarkets believes that it will not be that easy for suppliers to reduce prices:
• The small volumes of flexible glass produced today result in high per-unit-area manufacturing costs. So low price points for flexible glass at this point in time may reduce profitability below acceptable levels. Still in the next few years, NanoMarkets expects the basic economics of glass manufacturing to kick in; the cost of glass is directly related to the cost of the energy required to melt the glass, so cost is proportional to the volume of glass produced and this volume is less for thin glass than for more conventional display glasses.
• In any case, given the early stage of market evolution for flexible glass, reduced prices for flexible glass would not necessarily guarantee that end users would accelerate adoption anyway. And NanoMarkets also thinks that flexible glass is always likely to command a premium; after all, it is positioned as an enabler of new features for devices (lighter weights, thinness, flexibility, etc.), and the market will set prices accordingly.
So there are still plenty of strategic decisions for flexible glass makers to make. Add to pricing strategy, these firms will have to help their customer transition to new equipment, new skills, and new processes. Also they will have to focus on product strategies that can best target specific applications in terms of grades and sizes. These product strategies will also have to consider the appropriate special coatings to enhance the viewing experience, like antiglare/antireflection, color-balancing, polarization, or light extraction coatings.
But with all that said, NanoMarkets believes that the opportunities for flexible glass to take off commercially have never been better. Indeed, while NanoMarkets forecasts indicate that the overall flexible glass market will reach a value of just over $125 million in 2013, it can grow to over $2 billion by the end of the decade.
Smart Grid Energy Storage
Checking in on Flexible Glass
Why Self-Cleaning Windows are an Emerging Market Opportunity
Printed Electronics V3.0: The New PE
Revisiting OLED Encapsulation
Advanced Glazing Market Opportunities
New and Expanded Opportunities in PV Encapsulation
New Opportunities for Optical Films in the Display Industry
Checking in on OFETs
OLEDs, Flexibility and the Transformation of the End-User Market for Alternative TCs
A Better Case for Alternatives to ITO in 2012 and Beyond
The Latest Advances Changing the Prospects for OLED Materials
OLED Materials: What Has Changed Since 2011?
BIPV Encapsulation Markets Preview
Metal Oxide Thin-Film Transistors as a Key Enabler for AMOLED Displays
The Coming of Age of the DSC Market
OLED Lighting in a Low-Growth World
Reexamining Silver In Photovoltiacs
Changes in the PV Market that May Influence the Adoption of Smart Coatings
Changes in the Photovoltaics Market for Transparent Conductors
The Aesthetic and Cost Promise of BIPV
Opportunities in Smart Lighting
Changes in PV and What It Means for Transparent Conductors
UDCs Prospects in the OLED World to Come
Applications Driving Growth in Conductive Coatings
The Importance of Electrodes for Lithium Battery Performance Improvement
Reality Check On CIGS PV
Time for a Dose of Market Realism in “Printed Electronics”