Large and Advanced Battery Technology and Markets

Until about 20 years ago, the U.S. battery market was considered mature, with demand closely related to sales of either automobiles or various consumer products. Since then, advanced batteries have helped spark a dramatic change in this relationship.

“Large and advanced battery” is an arbitrary designation developed by BCC Research to describe a market-driven battery classification. As defined in this report, large and advanced batteries must have three attributes-they must be secondary electrochemical energy storage devices (rechargeable batteries), “large” in terms of size and energy capacity, and technologically advanced. This definition excludes all primary (nonrechargeable) batteries and all lead-acid automotive batteries, as well as all A, C, and D cylindrical batteries and button cells. Nonautomotive lead-acid batteries are included. Many portable product batteries, including computer power, portable tools, and battery-powered lawn care products are included.

 

Several entirely new classes of advanced batteries have been commercialized during the last 20 years, including nickel-metal hydride, secondary lithium, and zinc-air designs. Meanwhile, improved microelectronic battery charger controller technology is allowing the commercialization of entire new classes of batteries (notably rechargeable alkaline and lithium-ion) often at the expense of previously important battery systems (notably nickel-cadmium and portable product lead-acid). This, in turn, has allowed the commercialization of portable products that would have been impossible without improved battery chargers, including portable computers and portable cordless hand tools.