Many technologies have come and gone — replaced by new innovations. But, in the midst of the technological changes, one unsung technology remains and is expected to be in even greater demand in the years ahead.
We’re talking about the lithium-ion battery which powers most of today’s devices. In fact, it is innovation that makes the battery highly popular — beyond gadgets and computer wizardry to other industries
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to quadruple from 2013 to 2020. Developing applications in the grid and renewable energy storage segment are helping boost demand for lithium-ion batteries.
Vendors should include the grid and renewable energy storage segment in their growth strategy as the stationary energy storage market is likely to be the leading consumer of lithium-ion batteries and utility companies seek smart grid solutions that use these batteries.
“Overall demand for lithium-ion batteries will continue to increase throughout the forecast period due to anticipated high growth in the automotive and grid and renewable energy storage segments. North America and Asia-Pacific will lead demand, followed by Europe, wherein countries look for alternative energy sources to sustain automotive and energy sectors,” said Vishal Sapru, Research Manager of Frost & Sullivan.
The automotive sector is among the end-user segments that will present strong opportunities for vendors, as pure electric vehicles are expected to witness longer mass adoption cycles and the push to marketing hybrid vehicles will continue. Along with these factors, the trend towards incorporating lithium-ion batteries for start-stop automotive applications will draw vendors to this space.
Within the industrial segment, increasing utilisation of battery backup for applications in healthcare, military, telecommunications and other areas is fueling adoption of lithium-ion batteries. Coupled with the growing need for lithium-ion batteries in the power tools and equipment market, this is boosting the attractiveness of the industrial segment.
However, the global lithium-ion battery market has its share of challenges. For one, the competitive structure of the market remains fragmented. As few small participants are expected to survive the resulting decline in prices and rise in R&D costs, market consolidation and a shake-out is imminent.
Further, due to recent recalls of many lithium-ion battery operated devices for risk of battery malfunction, product safety concerns have surfaced, effectively hampering market development. As a consequence of this and the continued reliance on traditional energy sources, migration to lithium-ion batteries has slowed down.
“Manufacturers are searching for materials that enable lithium-ion batteries to operate optimally and safely in extreme temperatures. Additionally, manufacturers are looking to reduce the cost of cells, battery-pack materials, and battery management systems. While these efforts will ensure a fall in prices of lithium-ion batteries, the decline rate over the next two years will be in the low single-digits,” noted Sapru.