Batteries Not on the Grid…Yet
Sales of batteries for use in industrial applications and grid storage will be driven by increasing levels of gross fixed investment, global manufacturing output, and efforts toward industrialization in developing nations.
A recent MarketResearch.com report claims that the default option for grid batteries today is lead-acid, accounting for more than 55 percent of revenues from grid batteries currently. By 2018, the share will decline to around 30 percent as new grid battery technologies become commercialized. The lead-acid battery will itself get an upgrade; carbon electrodes, promising a 4x performance improvement. In addition, the ultrabattery, with combination lead/carbon electrodes, will compete for grid-storage markets. In 2018, lead-carbon batteries/ultrabatteries will generate around $300 million in revenues.
The Battery’s Bright Future
Lithium-ion will dominate the consumer and automotive markets for a long time due to their high efficiency and energy density, long cycle and calendar life, and manageable safety. Further increase in energy density is possible with lithium metal systems. But intrinsic problems with reversibility, cyclability and safety of lithium metal must be overcome to make the systems more viable.
Continuous research and development is taking place to improve the efficiency and reduce the size of lithium-ion batteries. In August 2012, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) developed a solid state, think-film lithium-ion battery, claiming it had the highest energy density ever achieved for a flexible battery.
Another trend revolutionizing the batteryindustry is the development of an ultra-thin, flexible, lithium polymer battery that could usher in future e-readers and tablets that could be paper thin and partially foldable.
A thriving clean tech ecosystem for battery development requires collaboration among advanced battery technology entrepreneurs, research institutions and governments that provide policies and incentives to foster exploration of new storage technologies. While some batteries, such as the lithium-ion, may be small in size, they will play a big role in unlocking the future of renewable energy’s potential.
PLM Helps Embrace Change and Shift Product Direction Fast
New advancements in storage technologies are ushering in an era of rebirth and unlimited possibilities in renewable energy. Just recently, a company called Solid Power demonstrated proof they were close to creating a lithium metal battery that could double the range of electric cars a commercial reality.
This breakthrough has the potential to dramatically change the entire electric car industry.
Smart product lifecycle management (PLM) tools allow OEMS to incorporate game-changing innovations, such as those made in batteries, in their BOM and change product design direction at the drop of a dime.
Arena Solutions, pioneer of cloud-based Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has helped a diverse range of leading clean tech companies, including SunLink, EnerVault, and SunPower, to streamline product development processes to reduce time to market, quickly change directions when new technologies emerge, and maximize product release potential.
Change happens fast and manufacturers must react quickly to embrace it. So ask yourself — when opportunity in clean tech knocks — will you have the right PLM solution in place to make sure your company can embrace new technologies and quickly change product design directions to scale when and where the market demands?
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