Historically, battery technology has grown at a slower rate than other hardware sectors, with mains power remaining central to the operation of most household appliances and power tools until the last decade. We have since seen a gradual move towards cordless power, however, with battery technology enjoying pronounced growth over the last few years.
This trend is reflected by a recent investment made by Sir James Dyson, who sunk $15 million into new, solid state battery technology that had been previously developed by Sakti3. This is just the tip of the iceberg in this market, however, with electronics firms and smartphone manufacturers driven to enhance the usability and longevity of their products.
The rise of cordless appliances and solid state battery power
Dyson’s investment represents his first made outside of his eponymous company, while it will also accelerate the developments made in the contemporary battery market. More specifically, it will provide an outlet for cheaper, longer-lasting and more energy-dense batteries, which are set to be rolled out in Dyson products in the near-term future. This will also build on the recent trend for cordless appliances such as vacuums and power tools, with the former now accounting for 16% of the overall market and set to control up to 75% by 2020.
In terms of power tools, outlets such as SGS Engineering have been supplying cordless appliances and accompanying batteries for a while now, while the power of these devices have continued to grow.
In terms of solid state batteries, these pieces of hardware are composed of electrodes and a single electrolyte. Electrodes were traditionally metal conductors, with the electrolyte supplying a fluid that is solidified into a robust form. This immediately eliminates the issue of leakage while optimizing both power and longevity, with the science also enabling solid state batteries to be miniaturized for use on compact products.
The future of the battery market
The emergence of solid state batteries make for an interesting development in this sector, as these tools claim to deliver an energy density that is 50% better than the lithium-ion alternatives (which are the current industry standard). Although these products remain dominant for now, growing diversity within the market will drive considerable evolution over the course of the next five years.
These technologies are also inspiring more advanced research within the market, from hydrogen fuel cells in the automotive sector (these convert fuel into a cleaner energy) to the concept of remote wireless charging in smartphones and tablets. This may only be three years away from fruition, which would mark another significant and rapid landmark for battery technology.