BCC Research estimates the total energy-related market for nanotechnologies at nearly $8.8 billion in 2012 and $15 billion in 2017, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4% through 2017. These figures include consumption of industrial enzymes, which meet this report's definition of nanomaterials but are not included in some assessments of the overall nanomaterials market. If enzymes were excluded, the market for nanotechnologies in energy applications would be valued at nearly $2.5 billion in 2012 and $5.4 billion in 2017.
Solid nanoparticles and nanostructured monolithics are expected to gain significant market share over the next five years, reaching 7.4% and 2.1%, respectively, by 2017. Nanosensors' market share is expected to increase slightly by 2017, and hollow nanoparticles should achieve their first commercial sales (other than nanoparticles used in nanocomposites).
Applications in energy production, refining, storage, distribution, and transmission collectively accounted for 37% of the market in 2011 vs. 63% for applications in increasing energy efficiency. By 2017, production, refining, storage, distribution, and transmission applications are projected to have a combined market share of 33% vs. 67% for energy efficiency.
Industrial processing was the largest user of nanotechnologies in 2011 with 46.1% of the total market. Refining was the second-largest application segment in 2011 with 17.6% of the market. Other major application segments in 2011 were ethanol production with 16.4% of the market and energy-saving consumer products (mainly detergents) with 11.8%
The same four application segments will continue to dominate the market in 2017 with smaller shares of the market. Other applications that are expected to gain significant market share over the next five years include, particularly, energy-efficient buildings (10% of the market by 2017), and batteries and other energy storage devices (4.9%). Nanotechnology is increasingly impacting the U.S. and world energy balance, both on the supply and demand sides. On the supply side, nanotechnology is being used to optimize production from existing energy sources (e.g., crude petroleum) and to exploit new sources such as heavy oil, liquefied coal, and solar energy (including using solar energy to produce hydrogen). Nanotechnology is also improving and opening new possibilities for the transmission and storage of energy, especially electricity and possibly hydrogen in the future.
On the supply side, nanotechnologies have the potential to reduce energy consumption by making it possible to manufacture lighter and/or more energy-efficient cards and appliances. Nanotechnologies also can be used to improve energy efficiency in buildings.