Energy Storage – Enabling Everything from IoT to Advanced Mobility

Energy storage is a common challenge for a myriad of technologies ranging from wearables to electric cars to the so-called Internet of Things: there can never be enough and it can never be too inexpensive. In the above interview, Franco Gonzalez, Senior Technology Analyst for IDTechEx, explains that the track he led on energy storage was a complement to the other tracks at IDTechEx’ Show that provided an in-depth examination of cutting-edge sensors, devices and the applications they enable.

The kick-off panel for the energy track, included Samsung’s Dr Taku Watanabe who discussed his group’s research on sulfide based, all-solid-state batteries. Devices-based on this technology promise better efficiency, safety and energy density, while questions remain on weight and stability. Although promising, these devices are still in the lab and Watanabe did not provide an estimate when they might be commercially available.

Andy Keates, who leads Intel’s evaluation of batteries and new energy storage technology, pointed out that Lithium-ion batteries have continued to provide a 7% annual energy density increase since their introduction a couple of decades ago. This steady march has enabled new products and applications that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Still, he is continually evaluating new technologies that would potentially shift the curve to a greater energy density. Energy density is just one vector to look at, according to Keates, as other factors, such as cycle life, peak power capability, low temperature operation, regulatory concerns, discharge curve and packaging, can also be critical to the success of an energy storage technology.

Energy storage marketing in the year 2020.
Year 2020 Electric Bus vs. Consumer Electronics Energy Storage Market

Keates emphasizes that specific applications are important, as parameters that may be critical for one application may not be as important for a different application. It is the niche application that allows a technology to develop and become part of a broader market.

In this regard, IDTechEx projects that the largest application for advanced and post-Li-ion batteries in 2020 looks to be electric buses. Gonzalez suggests that China’s economic policy is a driver of this growth, which IDTechEx estimates will be a $15.2bn market by 2020 surpassing both consumer electronics ($15bn) and cars ($8.3bn).

He indicates that the unique characteristics of buses and their driving patterns, compared to cars, could be conducive to adoption of new technologies. He points out that manufacturers are already beginning to introduce technologies to allow for things such as fast recharging capabilities at bus stops.

Stay tuned for additional interviews from the IDTechEx show regarding an energy harvesting application, a battery storage alternative and an affordable electric car that pays design homage to the roadsters of yesteryear.

One response to “Energy Storage – Enabling Everything from IoT to Advanced Mobility”

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