Raw materials are more and more scarse, while request keeps on rising: the only possible way to face this, is to consider new technologies focusing on Circular Economy and renewable.
In the future, there will be fewer and fewer materials available which we can no longer do without. For this reason, given the scarcity of raw materials, new technological solutions and innovations will be adopted. Here the main trends of the next years.
Innovation and technological progress
In the near future, the request for advanced materials will raise by 10.6%, bringing the market to a value of 115.2 billion dollars by 2025. These materials will mostly be recyclable, but, mostly, they will have features like customization and connectivity. This means that that they will be able to report any sort of anomalies (fractures, overheating, corrosion) through the Internet of Things (IoT) and will be more functional depending on customers’ specific needs.
Furthermore, productive processes will be dominated by the growth of laser systems, faster, more efficient and versatile; in the same way, 3D production of micro and nano parts on high volume materials will increase.
Energy efficiency of the future materials
Energy saving is, in fact, a real source of energy to focus more attention on. In the near future, high-performance materials will be the new trend in many sectors, such as construction, packaging and automotive.
In construction, the main focus is on the energy saving, achieved thanks to better thermal insulation. There are thermoreflective varnishes, but also traditional materials that become high-tech, such as sheep wool used for thermal panels.
The automotive industry considers the reduction of components weight the solution for better energy efficiency. The weight reduction of a car of 10%, in fact, means an average fuel consumption of about 6-8%. Aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys, which are known to be lighter, are essential for the construction of new lightweight components.
Bioplastics will be the packaging leitmotiv. Just in the US market, in the upcoming years bioplastic packaging market will increase by 5 billion dollars.
Circular economy and sustainability
A European production that applies a system of circular economy means a saving of 500 billion euros, bringing European GDP to increase of +4%. In order to realize a “EuroCircularEconomy” it is necessary the creation of an industrial symbiosis, which means sharing of utilities, infrastructures and systems among companies.
To roughly estimate the value of circular economy, it is enough to consider that retrieving raw materials and second-hand waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) worldwide, would alone have a value of EUR 55 billion.