In a new report—“Graphene and 2D Materials: Markets, Technologies and Opportunities 2015-2025”—United Kingdom’s IDTechEx Research says the graphene market has the potential to reach nearly $200 million by 2026.
Revenues currently are dominated by sales of small-volume but high-priced research samples, the report says. Suppliers are, however, aggressively building sales pipelines across many application sectors, and the research firm expects real application sales and price falls will accelerate from 2018 to 2020.
The largest sectors will be composites, energy storage and functional/conductive coatings, although each will be split across several sub-sectors. Graphene platelets will dominate the sales particularly as their selling prices plunge, while graphene sheets will remain a small niche that will grow only from 2019-2020 onward, IDTechEx says.
In the composites market, graphene platelets are used as additives that modify performance at low-weight percentage (wt%) loading values. The results are promising for thermal composites, the report says, particularly when graphene platelets have large surface areas. Graphene can also reduce permeation, although nanoclays or nanosilicates seem to give better results than some commercial graphenes. Conductive plastic are also possible although CNTs are more suited here thanks to their morphology.
Other graphene applications include conductive films and inks, energy storage, sensors, water filtration membranes, anti-corrosion and transistors, among others.
The report cautions that it is critical to develop intermediaries to reduce the time to market, end user uncertainty, and health and safety concerns. This is not straightforward because graphene is hard to formulate or compound thanks to its large surface area and its tendency to re-stack.