Battery technology is experiencing enormous investment to meet the demand of over 1,500 GWh needed in 2030 for electric vehicles, residential and grid applications. However flexible battery technology is an entirely different area of battery innovation, with significantly less competition and addressing different markets, where they are radically changing the form factor from thick, rigid, bulky batteries that are used today to ultra thin, flexible, rollable and even stretchable.
The IDTechEx report “Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2020-2030: Technologies, Markets and Players” sees the market for such batteries will grow from just $22million in 2020 to $109million in 2025 and thereafter $500million in 2030.
Over ten years of technology, development is finally translating into commercial success as the new form factors meet needs for thinner, flexible electronics. This is not about replacing the coin cell battery or battery pouch with a flexible version, but increasingly designing products around the newly shaped battery components.
Wearable technology is the key driver where products need to conform to the shape and movement of the wearer and not the other way round. This is a $66bn sector in 2020 and includes consumer electronics products such as wrist-worn wearables, accounting for 29 percent of the market of flexible, printed and thin film batteries in 2025 to healthcare products in the form of electronic skin patches which need to be low profile and comfortable for the user, accounting for 23 percent of the market in 2025.
Applications are very diverse due to different requirements for power, lifetime, thinness, cost, charging cycles, reliability, flexibility, and other parameters.
This diversity of requirements means that no thin film battery offers a one-size-fits-all solution and there many different technologies that have been developed that fall within the broad category of thin film, flexible or printed batteries.