Nafion Market: Snapshot

Nafion is a sophisticated name for sulfonated tetrafluoroethylene based fluoropolymer-copolymer. It was first discovered by Walter Grot of DuPont back in the 1960s. Nafion is a first synthetic polymer that possesses ionic properties that are known as ionomers. Nafion has unique ionic features because of the incorporation of perfluorovinyl ether groups with terminated sulfonate groups onto a PTFE backbone. Nafion can also act as a cation exchange polymer with superior mechanical strength, chemical, and thermal stabilities. It shows stability at temperatures as high as 190° C.

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Some of the key driving factors for the growth of the global Nafion market are listed below:

  • Increasing end-user applications: There has been a considerable rise in the demand for organic polymers, including Nafion in various end-use industries. Some of the applications are ion exchange resin, waste recovery, and semiconductors among others. Additionally, the use of fuel cells for numerous applications such as transportation, stationary power, and direct or portable methanol fuel cell among others is on the rise. Moreover, collaboration among the manufacturers of fuel cells and electric vehicles is projected to drive the growth of the nafion market over the course of the given forecast period of 2018 to 2028.
  • Increased investments and funding: Due to growing pollution across different sectors, there has been a considerable increase in investments and funding offered by the regulatory bodies. This is especially prominent in the water recovery domain and is projected to lend a massive helping hand for the growth of the global Nafion market in the near future.

While the first-ever innovation of Nafion membrane and dispersions (by DuPont) was recorded in Gemini space missions (NASA), the Chemours Company continues to fuel Nafion research and innovation to achieve development of sufficient and cost-efficient clean energy solutions.

Leading Players in Nafion Market Augmenting Investments in Collaborative Research

The Chemours Company’s focus on R&D of next-gen Nafion membranes is significantly contributing to the global Nafion market. The company recently introduced Nafion XL (extended-life) Membrane for applications such as power backup and transportation. The extended-life reinforced in this Nafion membrane enables it to demonstrate 20x endurance in terms of humidity cycling and load.

Apart from DowDuPont and The Chemours Company, the study covers profiles of some other prominent companies involved in manufacturing and supply of Nafion and Nafion membranes for a variety of applications.

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Some of the most prominent competitors operating in the competitive landscape of global nafion market include –

  • Solvay S.A.
  • Dongyue Group
  • Asahi Chemicals Co. Ltd.
  • Perma Pure LLC
  • AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc.
  • Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co., Ltd.

A majority of key players in Nafion market are maintaining their strategic focus on increasing R&D investments and collaborative research efforts targeted to the discovery of novel Nafion structures leading to innovation applicability of Nafion membranes. Companies are eyeing an extended Nafion membrane portfolio catering to a diverse application demand.

Nafion Membrane Remains a Premier Solution across Diverse Industries

The first-ever synthetic polymer developed (at DuPont) by chemically modifying Teflon (in the latter half of 1960’s) is widely referred to as Nafion, and explores diverse applicability owing to its unique ionic peculiarities. Leading the entire class of ionomers, Nafion is a strong combination of chemical and physical properties of the parent/base material Teflon. A thin Nafion such as solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) membrane has been in use for the fuel cells involved in weight-sensitive aerospace applications.

For the chlor-alkali industry, Nafion has been a preferred choice of material over the decades, attributed to superior performance and endurance over other conventional counterparts in the industry. More recently, Nafion market is witnessing considerable growth in revenue, attributed to growing applications of Nafion membrane in fuel cell, hydrogen production, energy storage, acid catalysis, recovery of waste, and production of bulk, specialty, fine, and ultra-high purity chemicals.

Extensively used for proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, Nafion has been among the most popularly sought after synthetic PEM membranes across the specialty chemicals landscape. High commercial availability of Nafion membrane is cited as an important factor pushing the growth of Nafion market worldwide.

Nafion is highly efficient when it comes to gas humidification applications, compared to other conventional means used for gas drying – such as desiccant dryer, condenser, and permeation dryer. This selective functional excellence of Nafion over most of the traditional gas dryers makes it a highly favored choice of materials in gas drying applications, especially in laboratory, industrial, and medical industries.

Successfully Garnering Research Interests, Nafion Market Continues to Expand

Attributed to the highly disordered, random, and complex-to-comprehend chemical structure, Nafion remains one of the most challenging research fields. This is projected to be the key factor holding research interests, thrilling scientists to understand more about it in coming years. Increasing research on Nafion membrane functionalities has thus been a significant factor driving revenue to the Nafion market.

A collaborative research study involving Australian and Russian research fellows has recently revealed that the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells tends to drop down in presence of a Nafion membrane that serves separation of cathode and anode in the fuel cell. According to research so far, the Nafion membrane tends to swell when interacts with water that has a specific deuterium content, and in turn results in partial unwinding of its constituent fibers. While these fibers further protrude away from the surface and interact with the bulk water, they phase for several microns. The research team is currently taking efforts on the structural optimization of Nafion membrane in such cases. Moreover, their next research focus is claimed to be on the alternation of electrical properties of Nafion membrane. Such innovations are projected to remain instrumental to expansion of Nafion market growth.

Global Nafion Market Taxonomy

The global Nafion market is segmented on the basis of type, application, and region.

Based on the type, the key segments of Nafion market include –

  • Resin
  • Dispersions
  • Membrane

By application, Nafion market is categorized into –

  • Coatings
    • Metal plating
    • Architectural paint
  • Chemical Processing
    • Semiconductor
    • Catalyst
    • Ion exchange
    • Chlor-alkali
    • Waste recovery
  • Analytics & Instrumentation
    • Drying & humidification
  • Energy
    • Fuel cell
    • Hydrogen production
    • Energy storage

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By ajinkya