Yole Développement seems to think so -- soon, at least. 2D graphene material with its ultra-high electrical and thermal conductive properties saw a 2013 value of approximately $11 million. This value is pretty much limited to its use in R&D and prototyping. However, Yole is predicting that the market will move to $141 million in 2024 for opto and electronic use alone. That's a pretty healthy increase.
In its just-released report, "Graphene materials for opto & electronic applications," Yole calls graphene a promising material for such emerging applications as printed and flexible circuits, ultrafast transistors, touch screens, supercapacitors, advanced batteries, ultrafast lasers, and more. The main drivers for the dramatic increase will be transparent conductive electrodes and energy storage apps.
Startups are showing up on the scene already, to capitalize on the boom. Challenges include production and handling of the materials. Expect to see substantial vertical integration trends, Yole says, including in the manufacture of graphene nanoplatelets, as competitors try to differentiate by offering such materials as conductive inks and composite materials for graphene batteries and supercapacitors. And they'll have to do it with the bottom line in mind.
According to a recent article in Phys.org, "Graphene can pave the way for Australian manufacturing," where the material's features of light, strong, electrical conductivity and graphene sheets a million times thinner than a human hair translate into faster-charging batteries that are also more powerful; dramatic improvements in data storage; greater efficiency in solar cells; and lighter but stronger vehicles, planes, and boats.
The article also identifies the top challenge: creating sufficient quantities of high-quality graphene at a cost that is slow enough for industrial applications.
There are a variety of material types and qualities, so standards will be an important factor going forward. The price depends on production volume and the costs associated with transferring from the copper substrate where it's grown, onto another substrate.