Carbon Nanotubes Market by Type (Single Walled & Multi Walled), End-use Industry (Electronics & Semiconductors, Chemical Materials & Polymers, Structural Composites, Energy & Storage, Medical), Method, and Region — Global Forecast to 2026
The carbon nanotubes market size is projected to grow from USD 876 million in 2021 to USD 1,714 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 14.4%. Increasing the use of CNTs in touchscreen input devices, such as robots, displays, and other electronics consumer goods is driving the global CNTs market.
COVID-19 Impact on the Global Carbon Nanotubes Market
COVID-19 has made a significant economic impact on various financial as well as industrial sectors, such as travel and tourism, manufacturing, and aviation. The worst economic recession is expected during 2020-2021, according to World Bank and IMF. With the increasing number of countries imposing and extending lockdowns, economic activities are declining, impacting the global economy.
In the recent past, the global economy became substantially more interconnected. The adverse consequences of various steps related to the containment of COVID-19 are evident from global supply chain disruptions, weaker demand for imported products and services, and an increase in the unemployment rate. Risk aversion has increased in the financial market, with all-time low interest rates and sharp declines in equity and commodity prices. Consumer and business confidence have also reduced significantly.
Driver: Emerging demand from the APAC region
APAC is the fastest-growing market for CNTs due to the significant demand in developing countries, such as China, India, and Taiwan. The increasing demand for electronic products is creating a high demand for CNTs in the region. China is the largest consumer in APAC and the second-largest consumer, globally. The country is a profitable market and is intensively manufacturing CNTs. China plays a vital role in the growth of the APAC CNTs market. The market growth in China is fueled by rising investments in new manufacturing plants for automotive, aerospace & defense, rail, aerospace, wind, and infrastructure development, in the country. Japan is the second-largest CNTs market in the APAC region. Currently, eco-friendly methods for production, such as chemical vapor deposition and catalytic chemical vapor deposition, are popular in Japan. The electronics & semiconductor industry is driving the growth of the market in the country. Japan is determined to use domestically-manufactured electronics & semiconductor devices, which will drive the demand for CNTs in the industry.
Restraint: Health hazards, environmental concern and safety issues in the production and application
Increasing concerns over the environmental impact of CNTs have led to the imposition of stringent regulations for CNT manufacturers. High risk is identified for human beings and the environment from CNTs agglomerates. The toxic effects of CNTs on human health include an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and kidney damage. CNTs are fibrous in nature and may cause health problems if inhaled.
The commercial-grade of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) contains 60%–70% impurity, by weight, even after the synthesis process. SWCNTs contain a high amount of impurities, such as medium & small-sized catalytic metal particles and carbonaceous materials. Purification and functionalization without damage on SWCNTs framework for maintaining and transferring their outstanding properties are challenging for manufacturers of CNTs
Opportunity: increasing opportunities in emerging applications
CNTs also have high demand from emerging applications, such as lithium batteries, chemical sensors, flat panel displays, hydrogen storage, and fibers & composites. The demand for CNTs in emerging applications is expected to increase due to decreasing prices and increasing production capacity.
Universities and companies are investing in R&D to come up with new applications for CNT materials. The emerging applications of CNTs also include CNT yarn, microwave antennas, self-assembling yarns, aerospace (radar-absorbing skin), medical implants, drug delivery, fuel filler caps, IC trays, carrier tapes, car body panels, sports goods, coatings, and elastomers.
Challenge: Maitaining quality and reducing processing cost
The demand for SWCNTs is rapidly increasing in different nanocomposites materials to improve the electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties of components, which can be metals, polymers, or ceramics. However, some companies are facing the challenge of increasing production quantity by using environment-friendly technology, without compromising on purity. Manufacturers face problems during manufacturing processes, such as laser ablation and arc discharge method. Both methods evaporate the carbon source, which is not eco-friendly. Also, some end users, such as wind blades and aerospace component manufacturers, witness challenges in terms of rendering the CNTs properties, i.e. the alignment and the adhesion of CNTs in the matrix of composite structures. The technical applications of CNTs-based materials for big structures is yet to be commercialized. This is due to the very high price of CNTs, particularly for SWCNTs. These CNTs cost approximately USD 500 per gram, depending on the purity and quality of the product. CNTs are far more expensive compared to other materials with similar properties, such as carbon fiber, steel, gold, and copper.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes type segment accounted for the largest share of the carbon nanotube market in 2021.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) type segment has the dominating share in the carbon nanotubes market. Rising demand for MWCNT in applications, such as medical & healthcare, electrical devices, and optical devices, is expected to fuel the growth of the market during the forecast period. The growing electronics & semiconductor industry is also expected to drive the demand for MWCNT. MWCNT have good electrical conductivity and are used in conductive transparent electrodes, conductive heating films, conductive nano inks, nanodevices, displays, chemical sensors, super batteries, supercapacitors energy storages, solar power cells, thermal interface material, and other applications.
Medical is projected to witness the fastest growth of carbon nanotubes market during the forecast period.
Medical is projected to witness the fastest growth of carbon nanotubes market during the forecast period, in terms of volume. Transdermal drug delivery is one of the biggest market for CNTs in medical industry. Multi-walled and double-walled CNTs have drug carrier properties through skin and penetration enhancement effects. Drug delivery is one of the most attractive application areas for nanotechnology. Carbon nanotubes can be used in drug carrier system and offer a high loading and enhanced transdermal penetration for hydrophobic drugs.
Carbon nanotubes help improve the therapeutic molecules in pharmacological profiles. They are also used as a tool for transporting and translocating therapeutic molecules. There is an immense requirement for optimum drug delivery technology. A significantly big portion of the drug molecules ingested into the body through the conventional delivery of drugs does not act on the desired biological systems, which leads to reduced efficiency and side effects.
APAC is the largest carbon nanotubes market in the forecast period
CNTs market in APAC is expected to witness high growth because of the increased end-use applications, for instance, lithium-ion batteries, used in mobile phones and laptops. The shift in the automotive industry toward clean and sustainable vehicles has led to the adoption of electric vehicles. These electric vehicles demand the use of composites and lithium-ion batteries, where CNTs find application. These factors are expected to drive the CNTs market in APAC during the forecast period. APAC has been a high-potential CNTs market against the backdrop of an overall slowdown in the global economic development. This region encompasses a diverse range of economies with different levels of economic development and a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, mining, semiconductors, electronics, oil & natural gas, textile, automobile, financial services, pharmaceutical, renewables, and telecommunication.
The spread of COVID-19 started in China in early January 2020. Within a small period, the virus spread to other Asian countries, such as Japan, India, South Korea, and Thailand, resulting in a rapidly increasing number of positive cases and deaths. The pandemic situation led national governments across APAC to announce lockdowns, leading to a decrease in traffic and temporary closure of construction & mining activities, manufacturing industries, and others. Since China is a global manufacturing hub, it was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; this in turn had an adverse effect on the CNTs market in APAC in 2020.