After Information Technology there is yet another revolution in the offing. With its potential to make substantial improvements in the general quality of life, nanotechnology is drawing the attention of entrepreneurs and investors. According to a NASSCOM report, the worldwide market for nanotechnology is estimated to touch $891 billion by 2015 from the current level of $180 billion. This sector is also expected to create 12 million new jobs by 2015. Of the current level of $180 billion, electronics and materials account for more than 65 per cent of the market. Indian companies have the huge potential to tap this opportunity.
According to a new study by BCC Inc., the total global demand for nanoscale materials, tools, and devices was estimated at $7.6 billion in 2003 and is expected to grow at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 30.6% to reach $28.7 billion in 2008.
This apart, the U.S. nanotechnology market is currently valued at $385 million and is predicted to reach $3.5 billion by 2008 and $20 billion by 2013, according to Consulting Resources Corporation (CRC). Most activity in nanotechnology is taking place within smaller companies, many of whom have formed alliances with major chemical firms such as Honeywell, DuPont, BASF, GE, Bayer, Rohm and Haas, DSM and Mitsubishi.
The most active EU country in nanotechnology is Germany at the moment, where the federal government has fostered a number of competence centers and provided over 110 million euros funding in 2004. Smaller dedicated programmes also exist in Austria, Finland and Sweden.
The markets in China for nanotechnology products and systems is US $5.4 billion in 2005 and will increase to US $31.4 billion by 2010 and US $144.9 billion by 2015.
Japan is also leading the Asian market in nanotechnology. In particular, Japan maintains a strong technological advantage in the field of carbon nanotubes, which can be used in products such as thin displays and fuel cells. It is expected by 2009, Japan will share 27.5% of world nanotech chips market and by 2014 it is expected to be the second largest market with 22.9%.
Initiatives in India
The Indian government has already started the Nano Science and Technology Initiative. Various funding agencies such as Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the University grants Commission (UGC) have launched large nanoscience research programs. The main nanoscience research has been conducted at institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), Indan Institute of Technology, Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (Pilani), University of Pune, Solid State Physics Laboratory (Delhi) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai). There has been some recent interesting development in the nanotechnology industry in India, in particular, private companies began investing in the R & D laboratories at university and government institutions.
There are about 150 institutions working on research and about 500 companies in the global market. In India organizations dedicated to nanotechnology include India Nano, Velbionanotech, Yashnanotech and and Amity Institute of Nanotechnology (Noida). Apart from these, major biotech and pharma companies are also entering the field of nanotechnology.
In India, companies have largely sighed away from investing in research. Universities and national research centres have worked in isolation. This lack of synergy and cooperation between the two sectors has prevented the growth of inventive technology. Private companies have, at the most, worked with university labs in consulting mode where a short-term interaction has been sought for solving a well-defined problem, mostly of trouble-shooting nature. This sort of interaction has never been blossomed into a relationship with a long-term vision for research driven product or technology development.
Companies dedicated to nanotechnology are unable to sustain research and development activities solely based on their revenues, and funding is vital to further these activities.
There is also a lack of sufficient knowledge among consumers about the benefits offered by nanotechnology and the complex nature of such products.