About CNT

If single-walled carbon nanotubes were discovered after 2010, they would have been called graphene tubes. Because a carbon nanotube is a rolled up sheet of graphene.

Carbon nanostructures have been the subject of studies for over 20 years, but only during the last few years scientists have come nearer to the practical applications of the fantastic properties of graphene nanotubes. This was preceded by deep research of the nature of nanotubes, the dependence of their properties on their structure, diameter, length and, most importantly, number of walls. A huge amount of scientific data and popular writing was published on this topic. We would like to share with you our own unique knowledge about graphene tubes, their potential as a product, their existing market and prospects.

At the basis of OCSiAl’s mission expressed in the «Manifesto of the carbon century» is the statement, that graphene nanotubes are the only industrially produced universal additive, which is capable of improving the properties of more than two thirds of all materials produced by mankind. Their unprecedented physical properties, nano dimensions and chemical universality are at the core of the uniqueness of graphene tubes as the best nano-modifier of materials..

Graphene tubes versus multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)

It is important to understand that graphene nanotubes are far superior to multi-walled nanotubes as far as their specific properties are concerned.

Like a Russian doll, multi-walled nanotubes represent several graphene tubes (usually 10-20) inside each other. One graphene tube has the same properties as a twenty-walled one but is 20 times lighter. This leads us to the decisive advantage of graphene nanotubes: much lower concentrations are required for the modification of properties of materials. The difference in useful concentrations as compared with multi-walled nanotubes can reach 100-1000 times. Besides the obvious economy of additive, other factors critically important for industrial production also emerge: the high concentrations of multi-walled nanotubes at which their properties start having meaningful effect critically affect the viscosity and other important technological properties of materials, which makes them inapplicable in standard technological processes.

It is important to note that only graphene nanotubes can be semiconductive, which is of key importance for the microelectronics of the carbon century.

We are not the only ones who understand the advantages of graphene nanotubes and the potential for their industrial uses. The market itself points to the direction of future developments.

Historically the capacity for the synthesis of MWCNT has exceeded the declared capacity for the synthesis of graphene tubes. Their simpler synthesis technology and lower cost were the growth engine for the production capacity precisely of multi-walled nanotubes. However, the technological inapplicability of multi-walled nanotubes in standard technological processes left the plants for their production unutilised. This fact has already affected market participants, leads to changes in the structure of supply, price decreases, and a change in the key players.

The market for carbon nanotubes

We estimate the 2013 market for carbon nanotubes and products of their first stage of processing (master batches) at USD 200 million.

CNT market volume in 2013. Source: OCSiAl, 2014

Graphene nanotubes represent one eight of the market due to their prohibitively high cost. However, there is stable demand for them driven by the big interest on the part of the R&D community.

During the last 10 years several companies in the world have stated that they have the capacity to produce graphene tubes in the amount of 1 ton per annum or more. However, with the passage of time it has become obvious that at the current prices of USD 100 per gram their use in real products is not economically justified. There was no price reduction, which should have occurred if those were really scalable processes. We believe that there are no companies in the world that have the technology for the synthesis of graphene nanotubes on an industrial scale, which are capable of bringing market prices down to a level sufficient for causing real growth in demand and the production of industrial products using GNT .

None, except OCSiAl.

We make the assertion that 2014 marks the start of a new stage in the development of the market, which has the OCSiAl technology as its foundation. In the course of five years the production capacity for graphene nanotubes will exceed that for MWCNT, and graphene nanotubes will dominate the market.

The potential volume of the new market exceeds 70 billion US dollars even considering a price drop for graphene nanotubes down to 500 dollars per kg.