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Electronic applications have become present in every aspect of daily life. Electronic devices require energy sources for smooth operations. Ideal energy sources must have high flexibility with regards to thickness, geometrical shape, voltage, capacity, and weight. Printed batteries fulfill the criteria for flexibility of energy source.
Printed batteries are frequently based on Lithium (Li) and Zinc (Zn). Lithium printed batteries are lithium‐ion with different electrodes (graphite or LixCn for anode and LiCoO2, LiMnO2 or LiFePO4 for the cathode, lithium‐manganese Dioxide (Li‐MnO2) and post-Li, i.e., lithium‐air, sulfur-cathode, etc.). In relation to zinc batteries, the most frequently used are zinc‐manganese dioxide (Zn‐MnO2) (Zn for anode and MnO2 for cathode), zinc‐air and zinc‐silver Oxide (Zn‐Ag2O). Further, there are other electrochemical systems, such as nickel/metal hydride, which have also been applied in printed batteries. Stacked or sandwiched and co-planar or parallel are two types of architecture used for the printed battery.
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The stack or sandwich architecture consists of a current collector for the anode, anode, separator with electrolyte, cathode, and current collector for the cathode, all deposited in a flexible substrate with an overall thickness of 0.5 mm for the printed battery. The coplanar or parallel architecture for printed batteries, which consists of the anode and the cathode in a side‐by‐side position. Several other architectures for parallel batteries is under research.
Based on battery type, the printable battery is divided into the primary and secondary battery. A primary battery is non-rechargeable batteries while secondary batteries are rechargeable batteries. Typically, zinc-based batteries are primary except for nickel‐metal hydride. The most common primary printed battery is the zinc‐manganese dioxide (Zn‐MnO2) (Zn for anode and MnO2 for cathode) system.
Zn‐MnO2 batteries can be the most suitable where high voltage is not required due to their high energy content, lower internal resistance, long shelf‐life and the low cost of Zn and MnO2 in comparison with lithium battery materials. Based on applications, printed batteries are segmented in RFID devices, Powered Cards, Medical Devices, Sensors, Smart Toys, etc. Medical device applications of printed batteries include health‐monitoring systems, wound‐care and cosmetic uses, wireless patches for patient monitoring (electrocardiograms, monitoring of vital signs, etc.), and patient wristbands.
The primary market driver for the global printable battery market is the growth of smart and flexible energy storage devices. Printed batteries are an alternative to conventional batteries for applications such as small and portable devices, radiofrequency sensing, interactive packaging, medical devices, and related consumer products. Key market restraint for the global printable battery market is the price difference between traditional batteries and printed batteries. Conventional batteries cost less than printed batteries.
Some of the notable companies in the global printable battery are Imprint Energy, Printed Energy, Enfucell, Power Paper, Blue Spark Technologies, Applied Materials, Printed Electronics Ltd, Prelonic Technologies and BrightVolt.
The global printable battery market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are expected to dominate the printable battery market. Both, North America and Europe have a robust infrastructure for research in modern printable battery technology. University research centers in North America and Europe are expected to provide the next breakthrough in printable battery technology. Currently, China is the manufacturing hub for electronics. China dominates the electric vehicle battery production, and it will extremely easy for Chinese manufacturers to adapt to printable battery technology. ‘Made in China 2025’ policy promotes in-house development and manufacturing of high-tech fields.
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