On July 20, 2010, David Hwang of Lux Research gave a webinar entitled: "Lux Research Nanomaterials: The Rise of MWNTs: Oversupply Hides Real Opportunities."

Mr. Hwang’s presentation identified the top global producers of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), explained why commercialization over the past 25 years has been relatively "anemic," and made some predictions for where the market is heading in the next decade. He explained that while total sales of MWCNTs were under $100 million for 2008, the market is predicted to grow to approximately 2389 tons by 2020.

Two major forces slowing past commercialization included (i) a "you first" mentality by which companies wanted to see others take the first successful steps towards commercialization before they joined the trend, and (ii) regulatory risks inherent in the development of any new technology — a commercialization bottleneck related to the potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) impacts of certain carbon nanotubes.  (Regular readers will note that this is a recurring theme in our articles).

Mr. Hwang further explained that he believes the market for MWCNTs is currently in a transition phase, and that an oversupply will exist until 2017.  He commented that total sales in 2009 equaled $75 million and would increase to $513 million by 2020.   Mr. Hwang then covered four specific markets that are leading the commercialization for MWCNTs and provided 2009 versus 2020 material usage estimates:


  • Sporting goods: 4 tons (2009) versus 270 tons (2020)
  • Aerospace/defense: less than 1 ton (2009) versus 67 tons (2020)
  • Wind turbines: 130 kg (2009) versus 253 tons (2020)
  • Automobile industry: 56 tons (2009) versus 2351 tons (20020)
  • Batteries: 67 tons (2009) versus 763 tons (2020)


Mr. Hwang closed with some further trends he saw forthcoming in the next decade which included market consolidation and a shakeout of smaller manufacturers, as well as a "crackdown" through EHS regulation of MWCNTs over the next two years.  Regarding the later point, he indicated that companies which proactively addressed EHS issues would have a competitive advantage over the long run.

You can find a link to the webinar here