Getty Images/iStockphoto

As advancing tech requires power, innovative printed, flexible, and thin-film batteries will be essential to fuel everyday tech. It’s big business with potentially big financial rewards. Enormous investments are being put into the fast-changing industry of battery tech, as organizations vie to sprint ahead of the competition. A new IDTechEx report reveals growth from $22 million in 2020 to $109 million in 2025, and $500 million in 2030. After all, it’s expected that electric vehicles, residential and grid applications will command more than 1,500 GWh by 2030.

SEE: The most battery-draining apps of 2020 (TechRepublic)

Recently developed or developing “applications require new features and battery designs that traditional battery technologies simply cannot provide,” the report stated. “This has opened the door to innovation and added a new dimension to the global competition between battery suppliers.”

The report analyzes 23 relevant battery technologies, 13 application segments and their suppliers, with 10-year forecasts that, the report stressed, are assessed “in light of COVID-19 implications.”

Another relevant issue, albeit in a completely different arena, will be battery innovation. Here, organizations will find less competition, and a variety of markets, in the engagement to radically transform rigid, cumbersome, thick, bulky batteries, which rapidly progress to lighter and more adaptable versions: Batteries that will be ultra thin, flexible, rollable and even stretchable.

IDTechEx found Zinc-Carbon batteries dominate the market, but by 2025, it will be led by solid-state batteries, followed by advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Source: IDTechEx Research
Image: IDTechEx Research

Flexible, printed and thin-film batteries

By 2025 and its estimated $109.4 million market, new and imminent batteries will be used to power (i.e. end use)

  • RFIDs

  • Smart cards

  • Wrist-worn wearables

  • Interactive media, toys, games, cards

  • Foot-worn wearables

  • Other wearables

  • Skin patches

  • Connected devices

  • Smart packagings

  • Smart phones

  • Backup power

  • Power banks

  • Power cases

These and other “new form factors” will increasingly need innovative batteries, and the belief that a decadelong development will finally come to fruition, in the form of commercial success.

The report, “Flexible, Printed and thin-film Batteries 2020-2030: Technologies, Markets and Players,” stressed that these changes do not entail replacing the coin cell battery or battery pouch with an updated, flexible version. What the future holds for battery technology is newly shaped battery components, for which products will be designed around.

Use predictions

With predictions for the next decade (2020-2030), battery tech that is flexible, thin, stretchable, rollable, bendable, foldable, and large-area will be used for wearable devices, skin patches, cosmetics, IoT and people, portable electronics, RFID, and smart packaging, among a host of others.

Currently, a $66 billion sector, and already a leader, wearable technology features products that need adjustments to the movement and shape of the wearer, rather than the other way around.

Today’s wearable technology, starting with wrist-worn wearables, will account for 29% of the market in 2025, with flexible, printed and thin-filmed batteries. Battery technology will soon evolve in 2025 into an increased use (23% of the market) in healthcare products; i.e electronic skin patches, and it’s important that these be low profile and comfortable to wear.

Due to the plethora of very different kinds of requirements, applications have diverse requirements. These parameters include flexibility, reliability, cost, thinness, charging cycles, lifetime and power.

New batteries, noted the report, can be described from several dimensions including: footprints (micro-/ large-area batteries), thickness (thin-film or bulky), Mechanical properties (flexibility, bendability, rollability, stretchability, foldability, etc.), manufacturing methods (e.g. printing, coating, etc.) and technologies (e.g. solid-state, lithium-polymer, carbon-zinc, etc.)

The simple translation is that none of the “rising stars” of battery technology will represent a single-size, fits all solution. There is a diversity of requirements within the aforementioned thin-film, flexible, or printed batteries. IDTechEx’s report analyzes these batteries (additionally, advanced lithium-ion batteries, think flexible supercapacitors, and more, for a total of 23 battery tech assessments), gathered from the opinions of key global suppliers.

Also see

Image: IDTechEx