Although the nascent commercial market for graphene-based products currently is very small, between 2015 and 2025 the market should achieve unprecedented growth rates through technological advancements. BCC Research reveals in its new report that increasing patent activity suggests technology trends are under way, ripening the market for explosive future growth.
Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms bound together with double electron bonds in a thin film only one atom thick. The atoms in graphene are arranged in a honeycomb-style lattice pattern, an arrangement that provides strength, flexibility and electrical conductivity. The basic structural element of several forms of carbon, including graphite, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes, graphene has opened up new horizons for high-energy particle physics research and electronic, optical and energy applications.
Graphene has potential in multiple electronics applications
Potential electronics applications of graphene include ultra-small transistors, super-dense data storage, touchscreens and wearable electronics. In the energy field, potential applications include ultracapacitors to store and transmit electrical power as well as highly efficient solar cells.
BCC Research expects a commercially significant market for graphene products to develop between 2015 and 2020, when the market is projected to be worth more than $310.4-million. The graphene market should continue to grow rapidly after 2020, approaching $2-billion by 2025.
Graphene printed electronics currently account for virtually all of the (very small) commercial market for graphene technologies. By 2020, structural materials should lead the market (23.2% market share) followed by displays (16.9% market share), graphene capacitors (16.9% market share) and high-performance computing applications (10.5% market share). Capacitors are projected to account for the largest share (31.6%) of the market for graphene technologies by 2025.
Transparent electrodes for electronics screens
One challenge of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) for the production of graphene is removing the graphene film from the metal substrate without contaminating it or ruining it. Several groups of researchers are working on solutions to this challenge. One of the most promising potential applications foreseen for this technology is the production of transparent electrodes for electronics screens.
In a field where many products and applications are still under development, an analysis of recent patents granted is a useful indicator of technology trends that will affect the graphene market in the mid-to-long term.
“The number of U.S. patents granted for graphene-related inventions has been growing over the last 10-years, from four patents in 2005 to 309 in 2014 and 386 in just the first 10-months of 2015. Among the 355 patents issued for graphene applications, structural materials account for the largest number of patents identified,” says BCC Research analyst Andrew McWilliams. “This trend is a clear indication of the growing interest in graphene.”