LONDON -- Rapid advances in wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being mirrored by breakthrough innovations in battery technologies. Traditional chemistries and forms are giving way to radical batteries that are flexible, thin, stretchy, curved, foldable, and even pin-sized.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Implications of Mega Trends on Batteries finds that lithium-ion and primary lithium are the chemistries of choice in sensors for IoT, wearable devices, smart cities, and storage. While the lithium-ion market is expected to reach $55 billion by 2020 and continues to see prominent adoption, advanced chemistries such as metal-air, flow batteries, and sodium sulphur are set to gain market share. Solid-state battery construction is becoming a popular choice for powering miniature devices that require high energy density.
The four Mega Trends that are powering the accelerated growth of batteries are connectivity and convergence, smart is the new green, future of energy, and health, wellness and wellbeing.
The developments in connectivity and convergence due to IoT, telecom evolution, and prevalence of remote patient monitoring have all gone a long way in driving the demand for batteries in industries as diverse as IT, telecom and healthcare. Additionally, the wider adoption of renewable energy and smart grids that necessitate residential-, industrial-, and grid-scale storage are generating considerable revenue.
"Smart energy, smart mobility, and smart healthcare are the three biggest elements of a smart city that will impact battery demand," says Frost & Sullivan Energy & Power Systems Research Manager Suba Arunkumar. "Battery energy storage is anticipated to find mass acceptance and can potentially reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent to 50 percent."
Batteries for sensors are being touted as the next big thing in the market. As sensors are integral to smart grids, wearable devices (consumer, healthcare), and connected homes, manufacturers of thin-film and solid-state batteries will feel optimistic about their market prospects.
Despite the potential of advanced batteries, market fragmentation, with multiple manufacturers offering similar chemistries, tends to limit its growth opportunities and stoke price wars. Besides, batteries are seen as a small element in an evolving technology. As a result, consumers are not aware of the brand of chemistry and leave the decision to equipment manufacturers.
"Awareness campaigns could prove extremely advantageous to stakeholders, as there have been ground-breaking innovations in the battery market in recent times," observes Arunkumar. "Medical devices have already started employing the world's smallest battery, the size of a grain of sand, which is available through 3D printing technology."
Another cutting-edge invention is the 'spray-on' battery that enables any material to perform as a battery. Furthermore, the batteries of the future can be fully charged in just a few minutes, retain the charge for two to three days, and be lightweight, thin or flexible.
Overall, continuous R&D and escalating demand are expected to keep the market for batteries vibrant and thriving, in spite of its maturity and fragmentation.
Implications of Mega Trends on Batteries is part of the Power Supplies & Batteries Growth Partnership Service programme. Frost & Sullivan's related studies include: Global Power and Cooling in the Data Centre Market; Global Wireless Power Charging Market; 2015 Global Outlook of the Energy & Environment Industry; and Analysis of the Global Non-renewable Inverter Market. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.