The global skutterudite market is expected to grow at a higher CAGR during the forecast period, 2023–2031.
Skutterudites are materials whose structure is utilized in various thermoelectric applications. These materials, despite their proven application areas, are still under extensive research. Skutterudites are hydrothermal ore minerals found in moderate to high temperatures along with other nickel-cobalt minerals.
Over the past few years, the research on skutterudites has led to a better understanding of the physical properties they possess. It has been found that owing to the high Z.T. (a unit used to determine thermoelectric efficiency) values they possess; they are ideal for use in the conversion of waste heat into energy. The conversion of waste heat or latent heat into energy is known as thermoelectricity. Thermoelectricity, regardless of significant progress in research and use, is still being studied across a considerable number of applications. A major part of power generation and consumption is given away as waste heat, and a material having the potential to convert this power into energy is expected to see a high growth rate in the years to come. Furthermore, there is a considerable dearth of potential in the reduction of waste heat and recovery improvement in various applications producing excess heat, which can lead to an increase in demand of skutterudites.
The global construction sector is expected to grow by USD 8 trillion by the year 2030. This development is predicted to boost the power demand shortly. Emerging economies across the globe have emerged as alternative marketplaces for constructing manufacturing facilities. Inexpensive labor and the abundance of raw materials are the determinants driving the emergence of the manufacturing industry in these countries, which has subsequently engendered the demand for energy. However, most of the economies do not have efficient transmission networks, thereby resulting in power losses. Besides, the manufacturing industry loses most of the potential energy as waste heat. Furthermore, most of the energy needs are still met by the use of conventional energy sources, which radiate a high amount of heat.
Rapid industrial development, population explosion, and the rapid consumption rate of earth’s natural resources have resulted in an increase in space mission endeavors. Space explorations to search for alternative habitats in the universe is now a subject of interest. Satellites are equipped with thermoelectric generators to convert the heat energy from the photovoltaic (P.V.) cells into energy for fuel combustion. Once research and tests on skutterudites establish its effectiveness for use in thermoelectric operations, it is foreseen to be used extensively to power space missions and explorations. On the other hand, the reduced costs of satellite launches and the growing competition among private players has increased the number of satellites in the space. As per the World Economic Forum (WEF), there are roughly 1,950 active satellites orbiting the earth, and there is potential for another constellation of satellites that will join them over the course of the forecast period.
In light of the burgeoning space explorations that have taken place over the years, there has been an enormous pile of space debris in the earth’s orbit. This has resulted in the emergence of startups launching their space missions in an attempt to clear the space debris. Companies such as Astroscale, which raised USD 50 million in funds, is actively involved in clearing up the space debris to prevent accidents and other space losses. The table below illustrates the space debris figures as of February 2020.
Skutterudite market is segmented by structure type, material type, and by end-user. However, since the subject focus of the market is under research, the segmentation can be revised as the skutterudite market reaches commercialization.
Based on structure type, the market is segmented into unfilled skutterudites and filled skutterudites.
Based on material type, it is classified into N-type material and P-type material.
Based on end-user, the market is further segmented into electronics, medical healthcare, aerospace, telecommunications, and automotive.
Based on geography, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa. North America and Europe are likely to have the highest share in this market. This is primarily attributed to the ardent research initiatives undertaken by economies such as the U.S., the U.K., and Germany.
The key players for this market include mining companies and research institutes as there exists broad scope for establishing the commercial value of the material, although it is still mined in small amounts.
are some of the prominent companies partnering in research initiatives with institutes such as Loughborough University and Cardiff University, among others.
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