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Next-gen batteries to propel power market growth

Posted: 11 Dec 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Frost & Sullivan? battery? NiCAd batteries? Li-ion batteries? lead acid batteries?

Global revenues for the battery market reached $1 billion in 2005. This is predicted to triple due to the increasing power demand from vertical sectors like consumer electronics, industrial devices, backup power and other segments, said a Frost & Sullivan report.

At present, the rapid technical development in markets such as cellphones, laptops, digital cameras, industrial cordless tools, back up power, military and medical applications increased the demand for batteries that provide maximum power and longer run times.

"Today's power hungry electronic devices require a next-generation battery to provide additional runtime while simultaneously maintaining a lightweight and small format," said Sara Bradford, Frost & Sullivan research director. "While chemistries on the market are sufficient for general operating, they are quickly becoming challenged by the demand for longer runtimes. Additionally, many industrial applications require a more robust and safe power system."

According to the report, the battery market is fast approaching maturity; hence, the need for continuous R&D to maintain stability in demand and revenues.

Strong competition is motivating manufacturers to undertake product differentiation within the battery market or introduce a new chemistry. Battery chemistries such as alkaline, NiMH, NiCaD, lead acid, lithium primary and secondary batteries, have been found suitable for portable products and stationary power.

Alternative power sources
Meanwhile, market participants are exploring alternative power sources such as fuel cells, ultracapacitors and flywheels, which could offer a better option than today's conventional battery chemistries. However, these alternatives will be commercially available in 2010 and beyond. Presently, manufacturers are investing time and resources into next-generation chemistries that can potentially bridge the performance between today's conventional battery chemistries and future alternative technologies.

Frost & Sullivan also noted that any limits on raw materials will challenge the emerging battery market. New suppliers need to be established because existing suppliers require an expanded output for raw materials and component to meet the growth demands for emerging batteries.

"Raw materials play a crucial role for the battery industry and any shortages or delays in obtaining these materials can delay emerging technology commercialization," said Bradford. "The delays could impact the market negatively and/or curtail the actual technology development altogether, depending on the severity."

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