The value of the thin-film and printed battery market will reach $5.6bn by 2015, new research predicts.
Analyst firm NanoMarkets said that thin-film and printed batteries with their customisable shapes, flexible form factors and ultra-low weight allow new functionality to be added to a broad range of electronic products, such as smartcards, RFID tags and sensors.
Many of the players in this space are smaller firms but several big names, including Air Products, Dow Chemical, Intel and NEC, have invested in this area underscoring its strategic importance, according to the study.
"This technology segment is also one where volume is everything in terms of manufacturability and sales prospects," said the NanoMarkets report.
"Thin film and printable batteries can be delivered at attractive price points when produced in significant quantities and with the right processes.
"For technologies such as RFID, sensors, smartcards and medical devices that are also high volume and cost sensitive, the ability for manufacturers to add cheap power sources is crucial.
"When you also factor in the ability for these batteries to extend these applications beyond their current usage, battery manufacturers can create a winning proposition for customers."
The report projects that the thin film and printed battery markets will be driven primarily by RFID applications in terms of market potential.
RFID will generate $4.6bn in revenues by 2015, according to NanoMarkets, followed by sensors with $434m and smartcards with $346m.
The study also predicts a growing number of alternatives for the dominant LiPON electrolytes, with improved conductivity and thermal properties.
While thin-film batteries using conventional lithium-based materials will remain the dominant factor, non-lithium battery revenues will grow to $2.5bn by 2015.
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