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Opportunities for Thin-Film Batteries

NanoMarkets, LC
March 2014

2014 NanoMarkets, LC

NanoMarkets provides industry analysis of advanced materials markets in the energy and electronics sectors. We have been covering these activities for a decade. Our work includes market, company and technology analysis, market forecasting and due diligence.

Offerings include reports, custom consulting, seminars/webinars and in-house training. NanoMarkets is based in US, with extensive contacts all over the world.

2014 NanoMarkets, LC


NanoMarkets has provided coverage on the thin-film and printed batteries market for six years and has a deep understanding of what makes this market tick. During the period we have covered these power sources, some of the firms in this space have made slow but steady progress both technically and in terms of business development; a few of them are generating significant revenue. Other thin-film and printed battery firms have quit the market. What have changed are the markets that are being addressed by these batteries. When the thin-film and printed battery business first appeared, the thought was that the main opportunity for them was RFID. But RFIDs have not taken off in the way that many people hoped. By contrast, these thin batteries have proved highly suited for powered smartcards, but for now this just a niche. Now it seems that a new opportunity might be appearing in the form of the so-called Internet-of-things, which promises ubiquitous sensors and other low-cost electronics. Such devices need to be powered and thin batteries may be just the power source that the Internet-of-Things needs. In this years report, NanoMarkets analyzes these emerging opportunities. We also discuss the latest materials and design strategies being pursued by the thin-film and printed battery makers and assess how successful they are likely to be in the marketplace.

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Printed Electronics Version 3.0: A Market Forecast The Market for Sensors in the Internet-of-Things Market: 2013-to-2020 New Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries - 2012

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Thin Film and Printed Battery Market is on the verge of new developments that will expand its revenue potential Some of the emerging devices will require batteries that are especially thin, flexible, lightweight, or created in non-standard shapes and sizes. New entries

Apple (U.S)

In July 2013, Apples patent application published the creation of flexible battery shape. In Oct 2013, it has succeeded in producing batteries with different shapes. Started Mass-producing stepped and curve batteries. Filed a patent in 2013 for foldable battery. Describes a battery pack made up of Foldable cells.

LG Chem (South Korea)

Nokia (Finland)

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Energy Harvesting:
Energy harvesting systems that can scavenge energy from ambient sources are capable of replacing thin batteries in sensors segment Still for many applications, like PV cells, where energy can only be harvested intermittently, thin batteries will find a place Current trend seems to favor symbiotic partnerships between energy harvesters and thin batteries or between thin batteries and super capacitors depending upon the application

Wireless sensor networks (WSN) are expected to be integrated into the Internet-of-Things As these sensors need to be tiny, flexible and self-powered, thin batteries are the best fit Wearable devices, medical devices and building automation likely to provide opportunities for battery-sensor integration Cymbet, Solicore and Blue Spark Technologies are targeting sensors market at present .

OTP Cards:
Credit cards in financial sector, customer loyalty and gift card in retail, smart card in healthcare are areas where thin batteries will find their application Thin battery powered OTP cards are well accepted in Asia and Europe but growth of OTP cards is slow in markets like the US OTP generation by mobile phone is a potential threat to thin batteries powered OTP cards

Biometric Cards:
Biometric cards may be an area that might create the biggest opportunity for thin batteries Companies like Smart Metric (U.S), UINT (France) and Mereal Biometrics (France) are working in this area These products are yet to be commercialized and likely to come in the market by end of 2014 In case, OTP cards fails, success of thin batteries will rely on biometric cards


Market exists for thin batteries in packaging of perishable goods TFE and Blue Spark to be watched in this segment Intelligent pharmaceutical packaging is another potential market iMedBox, an intelligent and interactive packaging solution for pharma products developed by KTH

Thin/printed batteries are likely to find space in this segment Printed batteries likely to be preferred than thin batteries Transdermal pharmaceutical and cosmetic patched to be main target of printed batteries Requires coordination between battery manufacturers and pharma firms Enfucell, solicore and Blue Spark Technologies active in this segment

Packaging Industry

Medical Disposable

This segment is dominated by traditional batteries and we do not see much here for thin-film batteries However, some recent trends in interactive media likely to generate demand for thin batteries on a smaller scale

Interactive Media, Toys, Games

New Segments MIMD:- Size and weight reduction still a challenge for Implantable Medical Devices, thin batteries will definitely help in miniaturization Bio-compatible batteries for medical implants another potential market Real Time Clocks likely to be another big market

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Focus of battery manufacturers towards simplifying manufacturing process to achieve lower cost, necessary scale and quality Solicores digital printing is one such move that has helped it in achieving economies of scale Other than production on large scale, customization of batteries to meet the specific requirements of customers is another advantage of such processes Deposition processes and manufacturing at low temperature enables use of flexible substrate and nano-composite coatings Motorola patented process for fabrication of thin-film batteries includes the deposition of an electrolyte layer followed by selective laser pattering of the electrolyte Active participation of both thin-film battery manufacturers and process equipment manufacturers being observed which is a positive development for the industry

2014 NanoMarkets, LC


Lithium super ionic conductors:Potential electrolyte candidate for Thin batteries Replacement of Ge by Sn in this class of material is likely to bring down the cost by a factor of 3 Lithium lanthanum titanate, another potential electrolyte for thin batteries

Anodes:Both Silicon and Germanium are being evaluated for their use as anodes Silicon looks attractive because of its high lithium storage capacity while Germanium is preferred as it supports higher charge/discharge rates Research in related area is going on in Stanford university and XG Sciences

Cathodes:New chemistries and innovative materials for cathode, key to improving the flexibility, energy storage and power generating capacities of thin-film batteries With these new materials, batteries capable of meeting the requirement of new generation of smart gadgets and devices a possibility

Flexible batteries:Researchers are investigating the use of conjugated polymers in cathode to make thin batteries more flexible As per researchers at Texas and A & M university, charge capacity of conjugated polymers greatly exceeds conventional cathode materials used in Li-ion batteries

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Firms Description
Enerchip, Cymbets brand for manufacturing and marketing chip batteries. Targets a broad range of industries including telecom/networking, consumer electronics, military/aerospace, transportation, wireless handheld, embedded systems, computing and semiconductor related. In semiconductor applications, Cymbet offers battery integrated to RTC clock and it is also partnering with portable power manufacturers to market their product. At present, Cymbet, is the only company that offers bio-compatible batteries for medical implants. More focused on printed thin-film batteries for smartcards. Partnered with major smart card firms globally to drive growth of powered smart cards market. Solicore Other than smartcards, RFID and medical devices are the markets for which Solicore has shown interest. Digital printing process has enabled Solicore to upgrade its scale of production and provide customized battery solution to its customers . RFID and temperature monitoring systems were first targets . Blue Spark Technologies At present, sensors market the main target of Blue Spark Technologies battery related products. Recently, partnered with Trace Tech ID solutions to develop battery-assisted passive(BAP) RFID temperature sensor solution


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Firms Description
Offers printed battery called soft Battery targetting RFID tags, micro sensors, transdermal pharmaceutical and cosmetic patches, and functional packaging. Recently partnered with Xymox Technologies for printing Enfucells softBattery at their facility but do manufacture battery-assisted devices too. Pragmatic Printing and Printed Electronics Limited (PEL) are other partners of Enfucell from printed electronics industry. Along with partners Pragmatic Printing and Printed Electronics Limited (PEL), Enfucell has developed integrated printed electronics concept in business card fomat. A start up that has designed a new battery that can be screen printed and consists of a Zinc anode, a solid polymer electrolyte, and a metal oxide cathode. Making Zinc batteries rechargeable was a challenge which Imprint Energy is trying to resolve through its battery solution. Imprint Energy Imprint Energy batteries are safer and have advantage to being more flexible over Li-ion batteries, thus Imprint Energy batteries are more likely to accepted in wearable devices segment .


In-Q-Tel, a strategic investment firm that supports mission of U.S Intelligence community, has invested in Imprint Energy.
Lack of experience is the only disadvantage with Imprint Energy.

2014 NanoMarkets, LC


In 2013, industry overall did not see any major investment save for Cymbet and Solicore

In April, 2013, Cymbet able to secure an investment of $ 20 million equity deal from Island Shore Investments

Nov, 2013, Solicore able to secure capital investment of $ 4 million from a new investor, New Science Ventures

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Partnership with various regional firms

Partnership with energy-harvesting firms

Cymbet partnered with Taiwanese firm OptoSensor to market its product in China

Symbiotic partnership between battery firms and energy-harvesting firms seen as emerging trend

Asia being an important market for Cymbets batteries, this move seems to be going in the right direction

Partnership between Cymbet and Infinite Power solutions to penetrate wireless sensors market is one such example

2014 NanoMarkets, LC



$ Millions

CAGR is more than Smart cards Wearables 45% and sensors likely to be one
will continue to generate demand for printed batteries of the major emerging market for thinfilm batteries

Major portion of demand for thin batteries is likely to come from mobile phones segment


Wearables Mobile phones


Semiconductor and Computer Industry Applications

Medical Implants
800 Medical Disposables Interactive Media, Toys, and Games Pharmaceutical Packaging 400 Food Packaging Smart cards 200 Sensors and Sensor Networks


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2014 NanoMarkets, LC

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2014 NanoMarkets, LC