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Posted: December 7, 2007
Very long time to market for nanotechnology applications
(Nanowerk News) The applications of Nanotechnology extends from sensors, displays, transistors, data storage, storage of hydrogen for fuel cells, photovoltaic cells for harnessing solar energy, water purification to steel and rocket propellants. Nanotechnology companies across the world are realizing 7-10 years are not enough to take a potential research finding to the market as a product. This view was expressed by a congregation of Investors, Scientists, Heads of Research & Development Organizations, senior executives from the Industry, etc on the 2nd day of Bangalore Nano 2007.
Speaking on the topic, Venture Capital in Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Prof. Anthony K. Cheetham, Dept. of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge said, “It is easy to spot the commercial potential of a research finding in Nanotechnology, but the time to market is very long. It is illustrated by lack of commercial success of many start ups in the nanotechnology area.”
Illustrating on various applications of Nanotechnology, Prof. Cheetham said, “Nanomaterials can be made into nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, nanorods and nanosheets. Nanotubes can substitute steel as they are 10 times stronger than steel and 6 times lighter. Nanocrystals of aluminum could be used for rocket propellants.”
He also said, “Earlier emphasis of Venture Capitals was on investments in the nanomaterials and nanotechnology area. In last 2-3 years emphasis shifted towards cleantech area, with applications in solar energy, water treatment, energy storage, fuel cells, emission controls, etc. There are also some unanswered questions concerning toxicology issues as well as societal concerns.”
In the conference there evolved a consensus that the economic results of nanotechnology looks more certain compared to Information Technology and thus there is no dearth of funding by private and government. The US federal funding for Nanotechnology is $800 million per annum. Japanese government also funds the same amount. Europe has a funding of $1.2 billion per annum. In China funds of $150 million are available from both private and government per annum while India has an outlay of $ 100 million per annum.