Thin-Film and Printed Batteries Are Poised for Strong Growth
NanoMarkets has released a report on thin-film and printed batteries. Thin-film and printed batteries are two related solid-state battery types that have smaller form factors than existing liquid-electrolyte-based button batteries, are potentially low-cost and can fit within existing manufacturing processes.NanoMarkets’ analysts believe that the unique benefits of thin-film and printed batteries position them as energy sources for a variety of next-generation, low-power, ultra-small electronics in applications ranging from mundane, high-volume RFID product tracking to mission-critical sensors that detect and protect soliders from hazardous environmental agents.
Driven by these high-volume applications, NanoMarkets analysts predict that the thin-film and printable batteries market will climb from $139 million in 2007 to more than $5.6 billion by 2015. The NanoMarkets report, “Thin-Film and Printed Batteries Markets,” also analyzes the various technical and manufacturing approaches and remaining challenges, estimates the sizes and growth of major applications for these batteries, and outlines the major corporations developing thin-film and printed batteries.
The report explores five general types of applications for these batteries that represent the highest potential market demand. These are RFID and smart packaging, sensors, medical and cosmetic devices, smart cards and access cards and point-of-purchase displays. The report details the performance needs for each application, likely technical solutions for each application, market size and growth, as well as identifying thin-film battery suppliers that are positioning themselves for each market.
NanoMarkets’ analysts predict that RFID will represent the largest potential market for thin-film batteries, thanks to the need for low-cost active or hybrid (semi-passive) RFID tags with longer ranges compared to non-powered passive RFID tags.
Although their costs prohibits them from being used with low-cost commodity goods, such as food and other staples, the retail sector is expected to use powered RFID for higher-margin goods where security and loss is a greater issue.
Powered or semi-powered RFID is also a useful tracking method for goods that benefit from embedded sensors with the RFID tags to track equipment usage, for instance; and in asset management applications where longer ranges, RF interference and water absorption is likely, such as inside industrial settings or to monitor animals, which are mainly composed of water that absorbs the RF signal.
With these drivers in mind, NanoMarkets projects that thin-film batteries for RFID and smart packaging applications will grow from 3 percent of the RFID market in 2007 to almost 18 percent by 2015 – the equivalent of $4.6 billion in battery sales.
Embedded sensors is the third largest market identified by NanoMarkets, although analysts believe it will eclipse the smart card market in sales revenue by the end of the study’s timeframe in 2015. This highly fragmented market includes sensors for remotely monitoring an aging population as well as a soldier’s physical health, environmental dangers and security, the form of bomb or hazardous substance detection.
The ability to directly print or manufacture the battery along with the sensor electronics would allow manufacturers to share the cost of the manufacturing equipment among both the device and power supply, making thin-film batteries particularly attractive for sensor applications compared to traditional battery solutions. The longer lifetimes of thin-film batteries is also useful for sensor networks that may be sparsely serviced and hard to reach.
There are other potential applications for thin-film and printed batteries, such as embedded chips; battery backup power for computer memory chips would also benefit from the ability to surface mount batteries right along with the PCB prior to high-temperature solder reflow.
NanoMarkets analysts expect that thin-film batteries will develop slowly over the next few years as design and manufacturing challenges related to electrolytes, manufacturing and printing are overcome and refined, leading to significant growth as unit prices drop, volume rises and momentum gains. However, the long-term potential is quite impressive.
To obtain a copy of the report, “Thin-Film and Printed Batteries Markets,” contact NanoMarkets, (804) 270-7010; through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or via the web: www.nanomarkets.net.