Market goes flat out for battery growth

30 September 2014

Research suggests that wearable technology  and IoT will create opportunities for the printed, thin and/or flexible battery market.

The emergence of new market categorises such as wearable electronic devices and Internet of Things (IoT) demand thinness and flexibility in batteries. These needs add drivers such as cost reduction and power/energy density increases, says analyst IDTechEx. The company forecasts that thin and flexible energy storage devices will create a market in excess of $300million in 2024, at the device level. The market will undergo a major transformation, and in 2024 the composition of the market will look drastically different from its current condition. The report Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2015 - 2025 provides detailed technology assessments and benchmarking, 10-year market forecasts segmented by application and technology type, and detailed interview-based business intelligence and profiles on key players and large end-users from a variety of sectors.

The interest in thin, flexible and printed batteries is rising fast. This is despite the technology having commercially existed for more than 10 years. The new interest is mainly driven by the emergence of new and attractive market categorises such as wearable devices, consumer electronics and IoT.

Thin and flexible energy storage devices can refer to thin lithium batteries, thin film lithium polymer batteries, curved lithium ion batteries, thin flexible supercapacitors, and zinc-based batteries. Each technology has a different package of attributes and is thus useful for different markets.

A diverse variety of non-overlapping target markets include wearable devices, IoT, RFID, consumer electronics, medical devices, skin patches, with different price points, form factors, power densities, lifetimes, processing conditions.

Wearable devices will come in many shapes and forms, but the largest cross-section of applications will require high energy sources therefore thin and flexible lithium batteries will have the highest potential, says the company. Skin patches are already a commercial reality, with printed zinc batteries having the highest potential although the price needs to fall further.

LiPON-based thin lithium batteries are most promising for many medical diagnostic devices and back-up systems as these applications require stable, long life time, safe and high capacity sources. Coin cells will be hard to displace in the active and battery assisted passive RFID market unless there is a stringent need for laminarity such as in car number plates. Battery-powered smart cards are now an old idea but the technology is now ready to deploy en mass provided costs are further reduced. The risk here, though, is the mobile phones will first solve the problems that smart cards want to address.

IDTechEx has developed detailed and granular market forecasts segmented by technology type as well as end-use applications. The technologies covered are: printed Zn-based battery, thin lithium battery, thin film lithium polymer battery, curved lithium ion battery, thin flexible supercapacitors in battery-assisted passive RFID, smart card.wireless sensor(s)/networks, smart packaging, medical cosmetic, disposable, medical device, interactive media, toys, games and cards, wearables, back-up power, portable electronics and energy harvesting.

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