The European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) announced on November 7, 2022, that it published a study on the EU market for nanomaterials, including substances, uses, volumes, and key producers, traders, and users. The study also covers the European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland. EUON states that according to the study, which was carried out in 2021 as a combination of literature research, surveys, and interviews, the European nanomaterial market is expected to grow in the next five years in both volume and value. According to EUON, although Brexit had an impact on this projection, interview participants did not perceive the COVID-19 pandemic to lead to a market slow-down. EUON notes that the study was conducted “before the crisis arising from the war in Ukraine, and hence its impact on the study outcomes is not known.” EUON states that while the largest segment is currently the metal oxides market, “growth is predicted to be driven mainly by nanoclays, nanocellulose and carbon-based nanomaterials.”
Technological advancement and public demand for functional, lightweight, and affordable state-of-the-art products are seen as the main drivers for growth. The industries most likely to drive market growth are aerospace, automotive, energy, food packaging, and construction. The use of nanomaterials in medicine and personal care are also expected to give the market a boost. EU and national public funding was identified as a significant enabler for the continued development and commercialization of new nanomaterials.
According to EUON, study participants perceived the current regulatory landscape, “which does not allow products containing nanomaterials to be easily commercialised,” as a significant barrier to growth. EUON states that potential upcoming changes in regulatory requirements and relatively high scale-up costs were also mentioned as “dampening the interest of companies in ramping up production. On the other hand, it was noted that a stricter regulatory regime can also help increase public trust in nanomaterial products.” According to respondents, the relatively negative public opinion toward nanomaterials is among other factors hindering growth.
EUON states that according to the study, there are approximately 2,200 existing products containing nanomaterials in the EU, EEA, and Swiss markets. According to EUON, more than 90 nanomaterial substances that are available in these markets have not been listed by any of the inventories on which EUON reports. EUON notes that some of the discrepancy can be due to regulation-specific conditions under which substances in nanoform need to be registered and/or notified.