Thus, Nanocyl joins the scale-up race started by other competitors profiled in our Nanomaterials Journal, including Showa Denko, CNano, Bayer MaterialScience and Arkema (client registration required). Assuming its plans materialize, Nanocyl aims to expand global production capacity further to approximately 2,200 tons in 2011, almost 2.5 times greater than this year’s capacity.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the MWNT market is expanding at such a rate, because none of the suppliers listed are operating at 100% utilization. In fact, we typically hear single-digit percent utilization is the norm. This imbalance of demand and supply brings joy to the ears – and pockets – of customers who incorporate MWNTs, since prices should start to fall from the $200/kg range – for standard grade MWNTs – to expected lows of approximately $50/kg. The producers, of course, are betting that this price drop will ultimately broaden the application base and allow them to drive up utilization and eventually become profitable. But it’s still quite possible that the markets will continue to develop slowly, and weaker manufacturers will get burned.
Stay tuned as we monitor the MWNT space, and keep a lookout for an upcoming Nanomaterials State of the Market report devoted to carbon nanotubes in early 2010.