Flexible, thin and/or printed batteries (or batteries with novel form factors) are back on the agenda thanks to the rise of Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, and environmental sensors. Find out more at the forthcoming IDTechEx Show!, Nov 20-21. These applications require new features and battery designs that traditional battery technologies simply cannot provide. Companies are moving towards new form factors for energy storage batteries: becoming ultra-thin, flexible, printable, stretchable, etc. This is a fast-changing industry, with its technologies in a state of rapid progress as new designs, methods and modified chemistries are frequently announced. The business landscape is also being dramatically altered as many companies are now gearing up to progress their lab scale technologies into mass production. These are exciting years for this emerging technology.
The market and technology landscape are complex. There are no black-and-white and clear technology winners and the definition of market requirements is in a constant state of flux. Indeed, on the technology side, there are many solutions that fall within the broad category of thin film, flexible or printed batteries. These include printed batteries, thin-film batteries, advanced lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries, micro-batteries, stretchable batteries, thin flexible supercapacitors and a few more. It is therefore a confusing technology landscape to navigate and betting on the right technology is not straightforward. On the market side, many applications are still emerging, and the requirements are fast evolving. The target markets are also very diverse and not overlapping, each with different requirements for power, lifetime, thinness, cost, charging cycles, reliability, flexibility, etc. This diversity of requirements means that no thin film battery offers a one-size-fits-all solution.
The composition of the target market is undergoing drastic change, driven by the emergence of new addressable market categories. Traditionally, the micro-power thin and printed batteries were used in skin patches, RFID tags and smart cards. Today, however, many new emerging applications have appeared, enticing many large players to enter the foray and thus transforming a business landscape that was once populated predominantly by small firms. Wearable technology and electronic textiles are a major growth area for thin film and flexible batteries in recent years. Conventional secondary batteries may meet the energy requirements of wearable devices, but they struggle to achieve flexibility, thinness, and light weight. These new market requirements open up the space for energy storage solutions with novel form factors. The healthcare sector is also a promising target market. Skin patches using printed batteries are already a commercial reality, while IDTechEx anticipates that the market for disposable medical devices requiring micro-power batteries will also expand. This is a hot space as the number of skin patch companies is rapidly rising.
For the first time at the Energy Storage Innovations 2019: Disruptive technologies, materials and applications conference, hosted by IDTechEx on 20-21 November 2019 in Santa Clara, California, we are pleased to announce a session dedicated to printable, flexible and stretchable batteries. Industrial experts in this area are invited who will share their latest technologies and applications. Alongside this session, you will also hear presentations from the energy storage industry on topics including batteries for electric vehicles, solid-state batteries, beyond Li-ion batteries, supercapacitors and high-power batteries, advanced battery manufacturing and safety design.
Top Image Source: Sekisui Chemical