Advances in wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being mirrored by innovations in battery technologies that include flexible, thin, stretchy, curved, foldable, and pin-sized form factors, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. The four “Mega Trends” powering battery growth are “connectivity and convergence, smart is the new green, future of energy, and health, wellness and well-being,” according to the market researcher.
The report, 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. The global battery-based energy storage systems market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2020, with lithium-ion accounting for more than half of this revenue.
While Frost & Sullivan forecasts the lithium-ion battery market to reach $55 billion by 2020, and remain the prominent technology, it also expects advanced chemistries such as metal-air, flow batteries, and sodium sulphur to start gaining market share as lithium reaches its limits. “Solid-state battery construction is becoming a popular choice for powering miniature devices that require high energy density,” according to the report.
The research indicates that developments in connectivity and convergence due to IoT, telecom advances, and greater use of remote patient monitoring have driven demand for batteries across diverse industries including IT, telecom, and healthcare. Other adoption drivers include renewable energy and smart grids. Revenues for grid-scale battery energy storage systems is forecast to grow at a 34 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020.
"Smart energy, smart mobility, and smart healthcare are the three biggest elements of a smart city that will impact battery demand," said Suba Arunkumar, Frost & Sullivan’s Energy & Power Systems research manager "Battery energy storage is anticipated to find mass acceptance and can potentially reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent to 50 percent."
What’s the next big thing? Batteries for sensors, according to Frost & Sullivan. “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.”
However, advanced battery manufacturers face several challenges, said Frost & Sullivan. These include market fragmentation and multiple manufacturers offering similar chemistries, which typically limits growth opportunities and results in price wars.
Another challenge is a lack of brand awareness by consumers. "Awareness campaigns could prove extremely advantageous to stakeholders, as there have been ground-breaking innovations in the battery market in recent times," stated 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."
Other innovations cited include a “spray-on battery that enables any material to perform as a battery.” Future advances include lightweight, thin or flexible batteries that can be fully charged in a few minutes and retain their charge for two to three days.
With continuous research & development, thanks in part to advances in the wearables and IoT markets, combined with growing demand, the battery market is expected to thrive despite market fragmentation and market maturity over the five years, according to the report.