The Company plans to offer its technology mainly to producers of the new-generation transparent conductive films (TCF).
TCFs are the key component used in the manufacturing sector covering photovoltaic panels, displays, touch screens and flexible electronics.
The operation of these devices requires the use of materials with the highest possible neutrality to light (absorbed or emitted by the device) and, at the same time, with the highest conductance parameters (as a result the electrical circuit is closed, which is responsible e.g. for touch identification on smartphone screens or the current flow in a photovoltaic cell). Such a wide range of uses translates into a high-value market of TCF products that was estimated at approx. USD 5bn in2016 (based on the 2016 IDTechEx report, data from www.statista.com and other sources).
TCFs are usually made of indium tin oxide (ITO) layers. Indium is rare element with its global supply controlled by China (50%-60% of ITO global production), while the second largest producer, Korea, has a 15% share in the market (source: 2016 IDTechEx report). ITO is used mainly on two media types, glass and plastic, and remains the current industry standard, but it is slowly becoming insufficient in view of the further development of final applications (displays, thin-film photovoltaic cells). Development of consumer electronics and new technologies, including flexible electronics, requires much higher parameters of TCFs than those provided by current ITO-based solutions. In addition, considering the fluctuating prices of indium, its limited resources and China’s dominant position in the market, ITO-bases solutions are becoming insufficient in terms of technology (lower parameters), economy (lower value for money) and business. Manufacturers are therefore looking for technologically more efficient solutions at lower prices that will allow them to become independent from the rare indium.
The market evolution and the search of alternatives to ITO have resulted in innovative solutions which allow to produce new-generation TCFs. At present, the best developed TCFs are based on:
- silver nanowires;
- metal mesh;
- carbon nanotubes;
- conductive polymers;
The opportunity for the producers of new-generation TCFs to become key players in the market is the transformation which the market of widely understood electronics is undergoing: from the market controller by supply to the market limited by demand. The consumption of electronics is not so much on the rise as it used to be, so producers seek new markets and one of the directions is printed and flexible electronics. Similar trends can be observed in the photovoltaic sector, where the smart window solutions and the emphasis on higher efficiency of the cells require new generation TCFs (optical transparency, energy efficiency, cost of production, and flexibility in some applications). This is related to requirements regarding the improved product durability and flexibility.
XTPL’s technology will address all of the above challenges in the TCF market. It will also allow for developing new final products in the target markets, in particular with respect to flexible conductive films, which is a vital competitive advantage over ITO. The crystal ITO layers are not compatible with flexible surfaces (they break when bended and lose their qualities), which makes them useless in the rapidly developing field of flexible electronics (flexible displays, flexible solar cells etc.).
The technology developed by XTPL will provide potential customers with parameters that meet the market expectations such as:
- transparency (optical transparency) higher than ITO;
- electrical resistance lower than ITO (better energy efficiency);
- flexibility higher than ITO (new applications – flexible consumer electronics);
- considerably lower cost than ITO (no rare earth elements, no need to use expensive production processes, e.g. photolithography).
The table below presents the competitive solutions known to the Issuer in comparison with the parameters enabled by the XTPL technology:
|Technology||Resistance <10 Ohm/m2||Transparency >97%||Flexibility|
Already the technological parameters obtained in laboratory conditions confirm the functional advantage of XTPL’s technology over the TCF production methods currently available in the market.
In view of the platform-like nature of the XTPL technology, it can be used also outside the market of displays and photovoltaic cells, i.e. in the segment of printed electronics. The available studies estimate the value of the entire market of printed electronics in 2017 at USD 29.3bn. In 2027, it will reach USD 73.4bn, which means that CAGR in 2017-2027 will be 10%.