According to the latest State of the Market report, published by Lux Research, intermediate nanotechnology-enabled products promise the biggest return on investment. According to an accompanying press release, ‘Lux Research used its value chain framework to measure and forecast adoption across four major industry sectors – manufacturing and materials, electronics and IT, healthcare and life sciences, and energy and environment – from 2004 to 2015’. The resulting, entitled Nanomaterials State of the Market Q1 2009: Cleantech’s Dollar Investments, Penny Returns, is based on ‘more than 1,000 primary interviews conducted with technology developers’.
The report draws the following conclusions:
- Nanointermediates garnered an aggregate net profit margin of 9% in 2007 – almost twice that of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products – a figure that will expand to 15% in 2015
- Nanotech funding reached $18.2 billion in 2008, as government spending ballooned to $8.4 billion, corporate funding edged to $8.6 billion, and VCs provided $1.2 billion
- International nanotech activity is still paced by the U.S., Japan, Germany, and South Korea, but Russia and China made significant gains
- Nanotech activity in the energy and environment sector is hot on many metrics; it accounts for 29% of all nanotech government spending in 2008, 13% of corporate spending, and 41% of venture capital. However, it barely makes a dent in total emerging nanotech revenue, amounting to just 0.6% or $876 million of the total in 2007 and 2% or $57 billion of the total in 2015
‘Nanotech’s impact on the energy and environment sector is real, but the disproportionate activity in the field doesn’t look justified,’ says Jurron Bradley, Ph.D., Senior Analyst at Lux Research and head of the firm’s Nanomaterials Intelligence service. ‘Still, while those applications account for only a small percentage of the revenues from nano-enabled products, energy-based nanointermediates – such as batteries, capacitors, and solar cells – can still be a smart bet’.