As much as ten times thinner than incumbent coin cell batteries and often constructed from flexible materials, thin battery technologies are introducing disruptive new design options for conventional energy storage applications. Coin cells will remain the dominant technology for many uses, but emerging applications will provide thin batteries enough juice to grow from a $19 million market in 2008 to a market of over $250 million in 2014.
With a diversity of technologies vying for dominance, the thin battery market is currently up for grabs. But while some battery platforms are quickly advancing, the window of opportunity is closing for others, according to the latest report from Lux Research. Titled "Thin Batteries: Novel Storage Powering Novel Devices," the report offers strategic guidance for investors and corporate tacticians who wish to gain an early edge in the market.
"The absolute numbers for the thin battery market aren't huge compared to coin cells, but the potential rate of growth spells opportunity for companies looking to buy early into the market," said Jacob Grose, an Analyst at Lux Research and the report's lead author. "Investors and financiers, meanwhile, may find potential profits through late-stage funding for thin battery companies that have largely resolved their technological issues."
The report updates Lux Research's analyses of eight thin battery manufacturers and draws on nine additional interviews with application developers downstream to assemble a comprehensive perspective on thin battery technologies, companies, and markets. Some key findings include:
- Emerging applications will drive growth. Coin cells will keep their grip in implantable medical devices and integrated circuit backup applications. But emerging applications in smart cards and cosmetic delivery patches will generate $95 million and $30 million, respectively, for thin batteries in 2014. Additional momentum will come from advanced display cards, display-based advertisements, drug-delivery patches, and RFID data loggers.
- Many new applications will favor primary battery technologies. Primary thin batteries offer better economies of scale than their secondary (i.e. rechargeable) counterparts, positioning primary technologies to capitalize early on established and emerging applications.
- Secondary thin battery technologies will find niche opportunities. The long cycle lifetimes of secondary thin batteries offer lower maintenance costs in applications such as wireless RFID sensors, and could give them an edge over coin cells.
"By 2014, there simply won't be enough space in this market for ten thin battery companies to sustain a healthy business," said Grose. "Anyone interested in getting a seat at the table will need to identify the winners, and identify them early."
"Thin Batteries: Novel Storage Powering Novel Devices" is part of Lux Research's Alternative Power and Energy Storage Intelligence Service. Clients subscribing to this service receive continuous research on the industry, as well as market trends and forecasts, ongoing technology scouting reports and proprietary data points in the weekly Lux Research Alternative Power and Energy Storage Journal, and on-demand inquiry with Lux Research analysts.