The fiber optic sensor market size is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period, 2017–2029.
Fiber optic sensors depict a strong feature of 'reliability,' which drives their application in various challenging industries, such as energy and power. They can also be used to deliver light from a remote source to a detector in order to obtain pressure, temperature, or spectral information. Additionally, it can be used directly as a transducer to measure several environmental effects, such as strain, pressure, and electrical resistance. Environmental changes affect the light intensity, phase, and polarization in ways that can be detected at the other end of the fiber, further providing security and accuracy to the users.
Several micro and macro-economic factors result in the growth of any market and also tend to change periodically. As per our analysis, one of the prime factors driving the fiber optic sensors market is the rising incidence of gas leaks, prompting extensive adoption of fiber optic sensors across the oil and natural gas industries. The oil and natural gas sectors are widely deploying fiber optic sensors for monitoring and sensing applications, such as temperature sensing and acoustic sensing. This has significantly improved the efficiency of oil and gas production and also its worldwide transportation.
The gas leak is a critical challenge in the oil and gas sector as it can lead to catastrophic events and loss of lives. Thus, government organizations have formulated stringent regulatory norms regarding leak detection and required measures, which is anticipated to bring forth lucrative growth opportunities for market players in the near future. For instance, in 2002, the U.S. Government passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, which mandates companies providing natural gas to conduct safety inspections for gas leaks in homes and other buildings. Additionally, proactive initiatives implemented by the government are also studied to drive the fiber optic sensors market significantly.
Optical fibers are widely deployed in the energy and power sector for the monitoring of electrical power distribution, health monitoring of structures, and for intrusion sensing. The benefits of fiber optic sensing include reduced service interruptions and monetary losses. The traditional sensing methods developed for the monitoring of power transformers have certain limitations, further driving the adoption of advanced fiber optic sensors as they aid several parameters, including pressure, temperature, moisture, gas analyses, oil levels, vibration, and others.
The escalating demand for oil and gas has been translating in huge expansion and investments to reform the old infrastructure. The entire sector is striving to enhance monitoring systems. With the installation of fiber optic sensors, companies are leveraging the advantages while simultaneously enhancing their operational performance and accuracy. Corrosion is a serious concern in the oil and natural gas sector, which causes critical economic losses for the companies. The ability of fiber optic sensors to monitor corrosion can have a significant impact on preventing catastrophic events resulting from corrosion.
Additionally, it is also studied that fiber optic sensor is gaining momentum in the aerospace and defense sector, owing to its intrinsically safe feature and resistance to withstand harsh environment capabilities, such as high temperature, chemical corrosion, high pressure, high voltage, and lighting environments. The lightweight nature and small size of the sensor permit weight reduction on different monitoring areas.
Defense departments of various countries are exploiting fiber optics for their operations. For instance, the Australian government is looking towards fiber optics technology to improve its defense sector. The DSTO (Defense Science and Technology Organization) of the Australian Government Department of Defense launched 'The Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program' to improve Australia's defense capabilities by offering opportunities for the Australian and New Zealand industry to demonstrate new ideas and approaches about the use of fiber optic sensing technology.
Thales Australia Ltd. is the external partner working to facilitate the rapid transition of science and technology into defense capability. The company's proposal resulted in the Fiber Optic Towed Array (FOTA), which is a sea-bed surveillance array that detects sound with extreme sensitivity using micro-sized lasers embedded in the core of optic fibers. At less than 20 mm in diameter, it can detect sounds with extreme sensitivity. Such developments in the defense sector are projected to bring forth considerable opportunities for the market during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly decelerated the price of crude oil = in a short period of time, which will further reduce the oil sector investments and delay the delivery of offshore installations currently being built at Asian yards. This will negatively affect the deployment of fiber optical sensors this year. Furthermore, aircraft engineers often need hundreds or thousands of fiber optic sensors for each application. Fiber optic sensors are widely used for aerospace applications. The negative impact of COVID-19 on the aerospace sector will also affect the fiber optic sensor.
Asia-Pacific is witnessing tremendous growth in the fiber optic sensor market on account of the rising defense/military spending in China and India and the industrial automation trend across these nations. For instance, the Government of China provides substantial military budgets for the incorporation of modern technology on account of the reforms by the Chinese communist party. As per SIPRI, Indian military spending was USD 63.9 billion in 207. As per the Fiber Optic Sensing Association, China had more deployments than any other nation with roughly 11.3% of all identified installations.
Aging degradation, coupled with structural damage to civil infrastructure, is a critical issue for Japan. Frequent earthquakes and subsequent damage to buildings are causing serious problems for the populace. One of the primary technologies that gain momentum for structural monitoring is optical fiber sensing. The technology can detect strain and temperature distributions. Temperature sensors based on Brillouin scattering have gained momentum in the country due to its high stability and sensitivity. Furthermore, various research and development activities are also being conducted in the country for the development of fiber optic sensing technology.
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a real-time fiber-optic distributed sensing system for strain and temperature. In addition, the construction industry of Japan gained tremendous traction in 2017 due to increased government spending for the restoration of damaged civil engineering structures for the flourishing tourism sector. In January 2018, the Japanese government announced plans to invest USD 13.9 billion for the development of the Metropolitan Inter-City Expressway and the Tokai Expressway. These construction activities necessitate the deployment of fiber optic sensors for various damage sensing and other applications, subsequently boosting the market growth.
Following Asia-Pacific, South America has significant growth prospects as a result of the government investments specific to fiber optics and associated applications. For instance, in 2017, the government launched an infrastructure concessions program intending to develop the country's port, road, railway, power transmission lines, and sanitation infrastructure. Under this plan, the government invested BRL 45.0 billion (USD 14.1 billion) through the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
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