Graphene has long been seen as a "wonder material" and a solution to many of the world's challenges. The reality is very different as, unsurprisingly, the hype did not immediately translate into commercial success. This is now changing, and over the next decade, IDTechEx forecast the graphene market to expand in a number of key application areas, reaching a market value of US$1.6 billion by 2034. The critical question investigated by IDTechEx is what application will achieve high-volume commercial adoption, and when?
IDTechEx has covered the graphene market comprehensively for over a decade, providing a detailed independent analysis of the technological and commercial progress of graphene and other 2D materials. They have released a new report, "Graphene Market & 2D Materials Assessment 2024-2034: Technologies, Markets, Players", which includes granular 10-year graphene market forecasts based on profiles of 80+ key players and leverages extensive in-depth coverage of many end-use markets for graphene.
As mentioned previously, graphene-related materials are progressing through their own hype curve. The commercialization has been making steady progress, and IDTechEx expects the graphene market to grow significantly over the next decade. The major question that remains is which application areas will deliver success for graphene - and, more pertinently, which grade of graphene material is suited for these applications. It should be noted that graphene-related materials take a wide range of types, grades, and forms, each with its own commercial outlook. There is some progression towards standardization and safety legislation/qualification, but this challenge still prevails. Extensive analysis and benchmarking studies are shown in the report across the complete range of graphene materials.
Advanced materials often suffer from being a material push rather than a market pull. The report looks at key sectors and application areas in detail to understand some of the business cases solving unmet needs. Market drivers include the necessity for improved thermal management, sustainability, lightweighting, product lifetime, and more. With such an extensive potential application list, a key question is: where will there be success? Composites, energy storage, concrete, coatings, thermal management, and textiles all represent a very large potential, and promising results have been seen. An outlook on the revenue and volume progression can be seen in the chart below and this roadmap is discussed in detail throughout the report.
Image source: IDTechEx report "Graphene Market & 2D Materials Assessment 2024-2034: Technologies, Markets, Players"
A primary outcome of success for the graphene industry will be a lowering in material cost as the market moves towards commoditization, and this will see an inevitable reduction in margins too.
IDTechEx covers the price point of graphene as a function of capacity within the market report. The effect of commoditization is not straightforward either - some applications are more vulnerable than others. An example industry that could grow in volume and revenue for graphene is construction, most notably for reinforced concrete and asphalt. Concrete is a low-cost product and will not tolerate a high additive price, so nanocarbons at a commodity price point could see increased adoption, while the high-volume nature of the industry would necessitate graphene companies to increase production capacities to capitalize fully on any potential opportunities.
When it comes to high-volume, low-cost materials, it is highly probable that just a few manufacturers will dominate this largely commoditized industry. This can be seen, for example, in carbon black (Cabot and Birla dominant) and is starting to be seen for MWCNT (Cnano and LG Chem) and many other industries. Returning to the graphene market, it was announced in August 2022 that NanoXplore was to purchase a "significant portion" of XG Sciences' assets after entering into an asset purchase agreement with XG's senior secured creditor. Another legacy player fell when Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) was acquired by Universal Matter in Q1 2023, having previously announced an inability to raise more capital in November 2022, with cash reserves projected to run out by early 2023.
Clearly many questions remain for the graphene industry. What application areas will bring success, for which grades of graphene, and which companies will capitalize on the opportunities are all nuanced discussions that are covered in depth in the IDTechEx report.
For more details on the graphene market, including segmentation by application area, see the IDTechEx market report "Graphene Market & 2D Materials Assessment 2024-2034: Technologies, Markets, Players ".
For more information on this report, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Graphene, or for more on IDTechEx's other reports and market intelligence offerings, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research.
Upcoming Free-to-Attend Webinar
Is Graphene on the Verge of Commercial Success?
Dr Conor O'Brien, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx and author of this article, will be presenting a free-to-attend webinar on the topic on Thursday 9 November 2023 - Is Graphene on the Verge of Commercial Success?
This webinar will tackle the elusive question of what will be graphene's "killer application", while providing a detailed overview of the graphene market as commercial success begins to grow. It will include:
- Introduction to the broad family of materials under the graphene umbrella, and the varied manufacturing methods
- The status and outlook for the graphene market
- Analysis of potential killer applications: A deep dive into several application areas with commercial examples, pain points, and market outlook
- Commentary on the effect of commercial success for the graphene market
Find out more and register your place on one of the three sessions here.