The announcement from Bayer comes the same week that Belgian competitor Nanocyl said it was installing a new reactor for nanotube production that would boost its production capacity to 400 tonnes/year. That new reactor is scheduled to come online in July 2010, doubling the size of Bayer’s now operational site. Last summer, CNano, headquartered in California but with manufacturing in China, brought online a 500 ton/yr facility for CNT production.
Current forecasts assign a 25% annual growth rate to CNTs, with the market expected to be worth $2 billion within 10 years.
According to Nanotube-Suppliers.com, there are more than 40 suppliers of carbon nanotubes globally, including the various forms they come in: single-, double-, multi-walled, etc. CNT manufacturer Arry is also located in Germany, with additional European manufacturers in Belgium (Nanocyl), France (Arkema, INP Toulouse), Austria (Carbon 21), and the UK (ADS). China has four suppliers, but the vast majority, 27, are located in the U.S. According to a study from The Freedonia Group, global demand for nanotubes was expected to expand rapidly from a small base to more than $200 million in 2009. Flat-panel displays for computers and televisions were to be the first widely commercialized applications, and the U.S. was to remain the largest national market, with Japan trailing in second. Up-to-date production data are difficult to come by, but according to a 2002 report from Fuji-Keizai USA Inc., global CNT production capacity at that time was only 2.5 tonnes/day