The latest study by the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) predicts growth in the European nanomaterial market over the period of 2021 – 2025. The study provides a list of nanomaterials currently on the market and identifies key market operators.
Helsinki, 07 November 2022 – EUON has published a study report on the European Union market for nanomaterials, including substances, uses, volumes and key producers, traders and users. The study also covers the European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland.
According to the study, which was carried out in 2021 as a combination of literature research, surveys and interviews, the European nanomaterial market is expected to grow in the next five years in both volume and value. While Brexit had an impact on this projection, perhaps surprisingly, the SARS-COV-2 pandemic was not perceived by interview participants to lead to a market slow-down. It is worth noting that the study was carried out before the crisis arising from the war in Ukraine, and hence its impact on the study outcomes is not known. While the largest segment is currently the metal oxides market, growth is predicted to be driven mainly by nanoclays, nanocellulose and carbon-based nanomaterials.
The main drivers for growth are foreseen to be the technological advancement and public demand for functional, lightweight, and affordable state-of-the-art products. Aerospace, automotive, energy, food packaging and construction industries most likely will drive the growth of the market. The use of nanomaterials in medicine and personal care are also expected to give the market a boost. The study identified EU and national public funding as a significant enabler for the continued development and commercialisation of new nanomaterials.
The current regulatory landscape, which does not allow products containing nanomaterials to be easily commercialised, was perceived through surveys and interview participants as a significant barrier to growth. Potential upcoming changes in regulatory requirements and relatively high scale-up costs were also mentioned as dampening the interest of companies in ramping up production. On the other hand, it was noted that a stricter regulatory regime can also help increase public trust in nanomaterial products. Among other factors hindering growth, respondents included the relatively negative public opinion towards nanomaterials.
According to the study there are approximately 2 200 existing products containing nanomaterials on the EU, EEA and Swiss markets. More than 90 nanomaterial substances that are available on the EU, EEA, and Swiss markets have not been listed by any of the inventories that the EUON reports on. Some of the discrepancy can be due to regulation-specific conditions under which substances in nanoform need to be registered/notified. Different regulatory schemes may also have different definitions for what they consider a substance, e.g., in relation to alloys and doped nanomaterials.
The EUON compiles information from a number of national and European nanomaterials inventories which have their own particular reporting criteria and requirements. It also features substances registered under the REACH regulation to cover nanoforms. REACH registration is required when a substance, regardless of the forms it exists in, is produced or imported above one tonne/year per registrant.