Fullerene Market size is accounted for USD 420.0 million in 2021 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 7.0% during 2022-2027. Fullerene and graphene are the nanoscale allotropes of carbon. Fullerene is a series of carbon atoms which are formed basically by two types such as closed edges or a cylinder. It was discovered in 1985 by obtaining a molecule like cage composed of 60 carbon atoms joined together by single and double bond which is denoted by C60. It was formed with the help of laser in order to vaporize graphite rods in an atmosphere of helium gas. It was named as buckyball and also known as buckminsterfullerene. The cylindrical forms of fullerene are also called as carbon nanotubes. The fullerenes were considered as a third form after two well-defined carbon allotropes namely graphite and diamond respectively. There is extensive research carried out in the field of fullerene for the development of its use in biocatalysts which are referred to as fullerene nanocatalysts. Fullerene undergoes several novel chemical reactions and donates and accepts electrons, thus, considered as a suitable material in advanced electronic devices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged many industries into challenging times. As countries across the globe introduced lockdowns and other restrictions, only essential work was allowed. Many of the industries such as construction, aerospace, electrical and electronics, and energy industry have experience a pitfall. Due to an interrupted supply chain and employee shortages due to quarantines, many industries have been halted. However, fullerene has remarkable usage in medical and pharmaceutical industries; thus, pandemic can be characterized as an opportunity for the market. Pandemic was widespread across the world that required advanced technologies to create virus inhibiting mechanisms. Fullerene exhibits inhibitory activities against several protein targets, also being used in anti-HIV drugs, mosquito iridovirus (MIV), and influenza A virus (IAV). Thus, fullerene has considered for the inhibition of COVID 19 and it is under research and clinical trials for its potential use to fight against COVID 19 virus.
Fullerene Market Segment Analysis – By Product Type
The C60 fullerene segment held the major fullerene market share in 2021 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.0% during the forecast period. C60 fullerenes are most commonly created and used type of fullerene which is highly symmetrical in nature. C60 has an average carbon-carbon bond length of 1.44 angstrom and does not have two pentagons sharing an edge. C60 exhibits the extraordinary stability and chemically inert and resemble to the structure of graphite. It has a remarkable use in electronic battery, as an additive in high-pressure method for synthetic diamonds, and as an additive in fire retardant paint. Fullerene C60 and its derivatives own the significant antiviral activity which is depending on its biological activity such as antioxidant activity and novel molecular architecture. Owing to its antiviral activity, it is used on the treatment of HIV infection. It is also used in drug delivery, diagnostic application, anticancer drug delivery, photodynamic therapy, and cosmetics applications. Thus, wide range of applications of C60 is expected to provide substantial growth opportunities for the global market.
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Fullerene Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The medical segment dominated the global fullerene market and held around 25% of share in 2021. Fullerenes acts as exceptional antioxidants and considered as safe to use in medical application and biocompatible. It also possesses antiviral activity which makes it suitable for medical applications. Fullerenes have the remarkable property of suppressing the human deficiency virus (HIV) which directed to get the syndrome such as AIDS. It is also utilized for the research and development of anti-HIV drugs. Fullerene also plays a vital role in targeted drug delivery owing to its biocompatibility and selectivity. It is also used as a non-toxic compound in photodynamic therapy as photosensitizers which helps to target malignant cells. The aforementioned applications of fullerene are boosting the market of fullerene in medical application. Also, the utilization of fullerene in orthopaedic research such as cartilage degeneration treatment, osteoporosis therapy, and radiculopathy is expected to provide substantial growth opportunities for the medical industry in global market.
Fullerene Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
North America dominated the market and accounted for nearly 30% of fullerene market share in 2021. This growth is mainly attributed to the presence of noteworthy industries such as medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and electrical and electronics in this region. In North America, USA is the major country which has the increased demand for fullerene. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment in healthcare industry is expected to grow by 16% during 2020 and 2030 and projected to generate 2.6 million jobs in the country. This growth in healthcare industry in USA is mainly attributed to the increased demand for healthcare services due to aging population. USA has the expensive healthcare system and Commonwealth Fund stated that, US spends around 17% of their GDP on healthcare. The growth in healthcare industry, need for advanced healthcare practices, and increased spending on medical facilities are surging the demand for novel materials for medical and pharmaceutical industry in North America. Fullerene is currently being used in the development of anti-HIV drugs, in drug delivery, and in photodynamic therapy. There is also extensive research is going on for the development of several medical practices using fullerene. This is further expected to provide ample growth opportunities for fullerene industry in North America.
Fullerene Market – Drivers
Increasing Demand in the Diversified End-Use Industries
Fullerene is the molecules that are comprises of carbon in the form of hollow sphere. It has received huge acceptance since its discovery. It is the third element discovered in the carbon allotrope family after diamond and graphite. Research and development in the field of fullerene has gained adoption in several technological applications owing to its distinct chemical and physical properties. It is widely used in cosmetic, medical, pharmaceutical, lubricants, technology devices, and energy applications. In cosmetic industry, fullerene plays an important role of anti-damage and anti-aging agents. In addition to this, it is also used in numerous medical applications such as targeted drug delivery, anti-HIV drugs, MRI contrast agents, X-ray imaging contrast agent, and photodynamic therapy. For instance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), healthcare market in India is forecasted to reach US$ 372 billion by the end of 2022. It is also employed in solar cells, hydrogen gas storage, additive in cosmetics, as hardening agent, solar panels, and in the production of protective eye wear. Thus, adoption of fullerene in broad range of application industries is boosting the growth of global market.
Surge in Investment in Research and Development
Fullerene is currently used in numerous end-use industries owing to their suitable physical and chemicals properties. The major industries include medical, pharmaceutical, electrical and electronic, cosmetics, energy, and aerospace. According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, in 2020, North America accounted for 49.0% of the world pharmaceutical sales followed by Europe at 23.9%. However, extensive research is been carried out in the field of fullerenes to develop its possible novel industrial applications. Currently, fullerene is actively used as a catalyst along with other materials. Thus, research is more focused towards finding the high potential of fullerene used in each application and to develop cheaper and environmentally friendly products compared to other commercially available substitute. The potential applications of fullerene include microscopic ball bearings, neuronal protectors for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s treatment, and rocket fuels including many others. Thus, potential to use in novel application and extensive research and development in the field of fullerene is driving the growth of global market. It is further expected to provide ample growth opportunities to the market players.
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Fullerene Market – Challenges
High Cost of Fullerene
Fullerene has adopted in wide range of industries since the time of their discovery. It has several applications in medical and pharmaceutical industries; however, these are not very commonly utilized in these industries owing to the high production cost associated with it. Also, fullerene is relatively toxic in nature and toxicity is dependent on several factors in respective applications which limit its usage in healthcare industry. It is comparatively expensive to test the toxicity of fullerene in newer applications. Thus, the high cost and time-consuming testing are acting as a constraint to the growth of global fullerene market. However, extensive research and development in the field of fullerene is expected to overcome the constraints in near future.
Fullerene Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in this market. Fullerene top 10 companies include:
1. American Elements
2. Nanotech Industrial Solutions
4. Frontier Carbon Corporation
5. IOLITEC GmbH
6. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
7. MTR Ltd.
9. Nanostructured & Amorphous Materials, Inc.
10. SES Research Inc.
In November 2021, Nano-C has entered into a partnership with ASCA, an organic photovoltaic expert in order to expand its product portfolio of solar films. Nano-C provides their fullerene and derivative material to ASCA to produce photovoltaic layers of its OPV films. Nano-C’s fullerene is suitable for OPV applications owing to its electronic properties and enables the easy processing of grey OPV modules that comply with the color requirements of construction industries.
In July 2020, Nano-C has entered into a partnership with Unify Pharmaceuticals which has started the clinical trials for drug therapies for neurodegenerative disease and clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. With this partnership, Unify utilized fullerene produced by Nano-C as an active pharmaceutical ingredient for the therapeutic applications.
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North America dominates the global fullerene industry owing to the presence of wide range of end-use industries mainly healthcare and cosmetics. It is expected to provide new avenues for growth of the global market.
In medical industry, fullerenes are used as light-activated antimicrobial agents. In biomedical applications, fullerenes are employed to design high-performance MRI contrast agents, photodynamic therapy, and drug and gene delivery.
The key opportunity for this market is the use of fullerene in electrical and electronics industry. Fullerene is utilized in semiconductors and photovoltaic applications.
A. Biocatalysis & Biocatalysts Market
B. Graphene Nanoplatelets Market
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