Author: Eliza Gough

Market Snapshot: Growth Trends in Plastics Development and Recycling

The tagline, “plastics make it possible,” has been commonplace for years. However, recently, the environmental impact of these products has begun to garner negative attention. Despite being commonly defined as one material, there are many different types of plastics, each with different properties and uses. These are typically divided into four main categories: thermoplastics, thermosets, engineering plastics, and plastic fibers. Despite the ubiquity of plastics in our lives today, only about 2% of plastics like bottles are recycled into the same or similar-quality applications.  Given the gaps in recycling, and the potential impact of these trends, research is being carried out in a variety of related areas, including Designing Plastics for a Circular Carbon Economy and Reimagining Plastic Degradation for Upcycling. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Growth Trends in Plastics Development and Recycling”

Market Snapshot: Bionic Devices & Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons might first make you think about insects, or sci-fi, but practically speaking, they offer a great deal of potential for added protection, off-loading, extended endurance and increased mobility. While most exoskeletons contain rigid elements that can restrict natural movement, non-rigid approaches exist, but must still be strapped to the body. In most cases, the weight of the exoskeleton is borne by the wearer through the body interfaces, therefore, these systems have the potential to increase the risk for injury unless some key questions are addressed. In nature there are many examples of creatures with both a hard protective exoskeletons as well as softer, hair-based and flexible exoskeletons. Some animals have both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton, but in all cases, there is an interface between the “harder” protective portion and the “softer” fleshy portion of the animal. The design of these types of creatures offer biomimetic and bio-inspired approaches toward an effective human-exoskeleton interface. An effective interface is one that considers natural human movement, minimizes the forces exerted on or carried by the body and results in negligible long-term injury to the wearer. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Bionic Devices & Exoskeletons”

Market Snapshot: Exascale Computing & Hyperscale Data Centers

Extreme-scale or exascale computing that is 50 to 100 times faster than the fastest systems of today is planned to be available in the 2021-23 timeframe and will enable major advances in a broad range of fields, including the discovery of new materials, accurate prediction of severe weather events, reducing pollution, investigating new treatments for cancer, and enabling faster and more accurate engineering designs. Advancements in this area will in turn form the basis for the next generation of widely deployed systems in data centers in the commercial and academic sectors.

Hyperscale data centers are a growing market, and some see these as an enabling technology for exascale computing. BCC Research reports that the global market for hyperscale data centers will grow from $39.0 billion in 2017 to $98.2 billion by 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3% for the period of 2017-2022. While relatively new to the mainstream data center market, hyperscale data centers have long been used by internet companies to manage the massive volumes of data that companies use to store information and scale up their business infrastructure. While initially only serving a few, hyperscale data centers are expanding into mainstream data centers, led by large enterprises in financial services, telecommunications and retail who need the economies of scale and flexibility the technologies provide. This expansion is being driven by firms transforming their IT organizations and networks to enable their own cloud computing environments, whereas others are designing parallel infrastructures to work more seamlessly with the major cloud providers through private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud models. According to BCC Research, the demand for this kind of flexible scalability is expected to grow from $21.5 billion in 2016 to $98.2 billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3%. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Exascale Computing & Hyperscale Data Centers”

Market Snapshot: Oilfield Services & Technologies

When you think of an oilfield, what comes to mind? Most people are familiar with the appearance of a traditional drilling rig, but what goes into making it work safely, effectively, and efficiently is an increasingly complex technical arena?

As part of this technical area, the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy Office of Oil & Natural Gas supports research and policy options to ensure domestic and global supplies of oil and natural gas and provides overviews on many sectors of interest, including Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), which was initially developed as a method to extract additional oil from reservoirs after primary and secondary recovery methods ceased to be productive enough to maintain economic field operation. BCC Research reports that the global EOR market totaled nearly $22.9 billion in 2016 and should total $30.4 billion by 2021, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% through 2021. This market includes a wide variety of products and components, such as injection pumps, wellheads, specialized well tubing, chemical feeder systems, air separation units, gas compressors, blowers, steam generators, specialized storage vessels, gas recapture and separation systems, and various other equipment and facilities. Additionally, this market includes surfactants, polymers, alkali chemicals, liquid nitrogen and CO2, which act as oil recovery media. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Oilfield Services & Technologies”

Market Snapshot: Building Energy Efficiency

The concepts of green building and building energy efficiency seem to be everywhere, but what do they really mean, and how do they impact both our lives and the economy? The Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office’s (BTO’s) Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP) for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 is a helpful resource to learn about energy use in the buildings sector, new opportunities for cost-effective energy savings, the barriers to their achievement, and BTO’s strategies and goals for achieving significant reductions in building energy use intensity. According to the BTO, “We spend more than $400 billion each year to power our homes and commercial buildings, consuming approximately 74% of all electricity used in the United States, about 40% of our nation’s total energy bill. And much of this energy and money is wasted—over 30% on average. If we cut the energy use of U.S. buildings by 20%, we could save approximately $80 billion annually on energy bills and help create jobs.” Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Building Energy Efficiency”

Market Snapshot: Nuclear Energy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nuclear power has reliably and economically contributed almost 20% of electrical generation in the United States over the past two decades, and remains the single largest contributor (more than 70%) of non-greenhouse-gas-emitting electric power generation in the United States.

In order to deploy this type of power, a variety of key technologies are necessary. Small modular reactors (SMRs) are best suited to small electric grids and locations that cannot support large reactors, and can serve as a “plug and play” option, which reduces capital costs and construction times. They also offer utilities the flexibility to scale production as demand changes. Currently, the most common reactors in the United States are the Boiling Water Reactors (BWR) and Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR), both variants of the Light Water Reactor (LWR). The large majority of operating LWRs are PWRs – the primary difference is the combination of pressure and the temperature of the coolant, which enables major design differences between the two types of reactors. Advanced Reactor Technologies are being explored by DOE, including the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) to demonstrate the technical viability of high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) technology and the Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) program supporting research for advanced reactor subsystems addressing long-term technical barriers for the development of advanced nuclear fission energy systems utilizing coolants such as liquid metal, fluoride salt, or gas. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Nuclear Energy”

Market Snapshot: Advanced Manufacturing

With science and technology continually advancing, how do you define advanced manufacturing? Broadly speaking, advanced manufacturing uses innovative technology to improve products or processes. Given the broad definition of advanced manufacturing, several markets fall under its umbrella.  provides a glossary that covers key terms in advanced manufacturing with helpful definitions for growing areas such as smart manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping, Robotics, Digital Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), 3D Printing, and Additive Manufacturing. To provide additional insights, the  American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) infographic titled Understanding Advanced Manufacturing.

As part of the advanced manufacturing market, MarketsandMarkets reports that the smart factory market is forecast to be valued at $205.42 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3%, between 2017 and 2022. The group attributes this growth to the increase in adoption of industrial robots, and the evolution of Internet of Things (IoT). Furthermore, distributed control system (DCS) technology is expected to hold the largest share of the overall smart factory market in 2017. As described by MnM, DCS is used to offer regulatory controls to the manufacturing process industry and provides the finest control for the regulatory applications and is used for the integration of power measuring devices, drives, and soft starters. Integration of motor managing data in the DCS helps in real-time monitoring of the motors and is used to detect the failures in the motors before their occurrences. In terms of the major players in this space, the following components, equipment manufacturers, system integrators, and distributors provide noteworthy offerings: ABB Ltd.(Switzerland), Atos SE (France), Emerson Electric Co. (U.S.), FANUC Corporation (Japan), General Electric Co. (U.S.), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), Rockwell Automation, Inc. (U.S.), Schneider Electric SE (France), Siemens AG (Germany), and Yokogawa Electric Corporation (Japan). Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Advanced Manufacturing”

Market Snapshot: Advanced Batteries

Today, batteries are used to power a broad array of products ranging from everyday personal electronics and medical devices to commercial and military electric vehicles, unmanned systems, and aviation engines.

BCC Research reports that the global large-and-advanced battery market totaled nearly $23.7 billion in 2014 and is projected to approach $30.9 billion by 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% through 2019. The global market for lithium batteries totaled $5.9 billion in 2010. The market should reach $10.6 billion in 2015 and $13.3 billion in 2020, demonstrating a CAGR of 4.5% from 2015 to 2020. The global market for advanced battery and fuel cell materials reached $22.7 billion in 2016 and should reach $32.8 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2017 to 2022. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Advanced Batteries”

Market Snapshot: Membranes & Materials for Energy Efficiency

Membranes and separation technologies are taking on new forms and are playing an ever-expanding role in many industries. Generally speaking, separation technologies are used to recover, isolate, and purify products. Using membranes rather than incumbent methods could reduce both energy use and costs in many industrial processes and application areas including fuel cells, Gallium Nitride (GaN) wafers/semiconductors, hydrogen refueling stations, and more.

According to MarketsandMarkets coverage of this space, the global membrane separation technology market is expected to reach $28.10 Billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% with such players as The Dow Chemical Company (U.S.), The 3M Company (U.S.), GE Water & Process Technologies (U.S.), Toray Industries (Japan), Merck Millipore (Germany), Asahi Kasei Corporation (Japan), Hydranautics (U.S.), Danaher Corporation (U.S.), Pentair plc (U.K.), and Koch Membrane Systems Inc. (U.S.) leading the market. BCC Research reports that the global market for membrane microfiltration was nearly $1.8 Billion in 2014, almost $1.9 Billion in 2015, and will grow at CAGR of 6.7% to reach close to $2.6 Billion by 2020. These figures from BCC include their use in food and beverage processing, biopharmaceuticals manufacture, potable water production, wastewater treatment, industrial processes, and semiconductor fabrication. Frost & Sullivan also provides extensive coverage on membranes and advanced materials. In its coverage of membrane bioreactors, Frost & Sullivan discusses a variety of competitive factors, including the important role of total system and other costs associated with these systems. BCC Research reports that the global market for membrane bioreactor systems (MBRs) totaled $425.7 million in 2014 and is projected to approach $777.7 million by 2019. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Membranes & Materials for Energy Efficiency”

Market Snapshot: Non-Destructive Test, Evaluation, and Inspection Markets

Non-destructive testing, evaluation, and inspection (NDT, NDE, NDI) equipment and techniques allow for the examination of an object without impacting its current or future usefulness. This capability can improve a product’s design, reduce manufacturing costs, and provide a consistent level of quality. The NDT equipment market is commonly segmented based on technology type, including ultrasonic, magnetic and electromagnetic, visual inspection, radiography, and penetrant testing. Major end-use markets include aerospace, defense, automotive, renewable energy, oil and gas, infrastructure, and more. Continue reading “Market Snapshot: Non-Destructive Test, Evaluation, and Inspection Markets”