IoT energy storage takes shape: its flexible, printed and thin

March 07, 2016 // By Julien Happich
According to IDTechEx' Technology Analyst, Dr Xiaoxi He, thin, the Internet of Things, wearables and environment sensors are driving the need for novel battery form factors, where printed and/or flexible battery are more likely to dominate the landscape.

"These applications often require new form factors and designs that traditional battery technologies simply cannot provide", she notes, explaining why the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG, STMicroelectronics and TDK are all becoming increasingly involved.
From its most recent industry forecast " Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets and Players ", IDTechEx Research expects this resurgent industry to grow from a small market base today to become a $470m industry in 2026, where nothing would look like today.

"In fact, we forecast that the market in 2026 will look nothing like the market today: everything will have changed including the end-users, winning technologies, manufacturing process and dominant suppliers", the analyst writes.
Giving some examples, the report introduction mentions Oakridge Global Energy Solutions, moving into full production of is energy storage products. The publicly traded company will ramp up and install more than 2.6 Gigawatt-hours of production capacity in its Brevard County, Florida facilities to manufacture electrodes, and cells. The company has also announced its new corporate image, branding and media communications tools in conjunction with its ramp up in January 2016.

As part of the plan, the company has decided to fully utilize the many patents developed and owned by the company in thin-film solid-state batteries. Oakridge Global Energy Solutions acquired Oak Ridge Micro-Energy Inc. in 2002 to further develop and commercialize the rechargeable thin-film solid-state lithium battery technology initially licensed from ORNL.

The company claimed to complete the last phase of pre-production prototyping in early 2016 and will be ready for final product and manufacturing in early 2017.

Meanwhile, TDK plans to double its investment on thin-film battery business. The company has been working on battery-free energy harvesting solutions for wearable devices, wireless sensor networks (WSN), etc. At the same time, TDK plans to spend over 100 billion yen ($841 million) between the fiscal years of 2015 and 2017 to ramp up production of lithium-ion batteries since