Technology Trends to Watch in 2018: Solid-State Batteries

Lux Research’s 18 for 2018 – Using data & insights to spot disruptive technologies

Another important topic from Lux’s report “18 for 2018: Transformational Technologies Reshaping the World,” which highlights the top 18 technologies to watch for 2018 and beyond, is solid-state batteries.

While a bit under the radar compared to more-hyped technologies like machine learning, solid-state batteries have been on a steady run-up in innovation interest since 2009 or so, suggesting they are getting ready to break through. These batteries replace the liquid electrolytes and porous separators used in essentially all batteries today with a solid ion-conductive material, which makes them safer than conventional batteries, and can help enable higher energy density as well. (Here’s the Solid-State Batteries Tech Page for Lux members.)  

Despite these advantages, solid-state batteries have yet to break into high-volume applications such as cell phones, tablets, or electric vehicles due to high costs, low power output, and poor room-temperature performance. However, rapid advancements in manufacturing processes and high-profile investments in the technology are improving performance and driving solid-state batteries nearer to adoption. Indeed, in a report just a few months ago, our energy storage analysts saw adoption of solid-state batteries in electronics starting to take off in the early 2020s -- though significant adoption for transportation is unlikely before 2030. 

Lux Research Solid-State Battery Tech Signal

There are dozens of startups working on solid-state battery technology, and the report gets into detail on how they stack up using the Lux Innovation Grid. But few are likely to bring products to market without licensing or partnership deals. Large companies like Toyota, Panasonic, and Samsung SDI are increasingly active in filing IP and showcasing prototype batteries, and these players are most likely to bring solid-state batteries to the high-volume markets of consumer electronics and EVs. Watch for more announcements of partnerships as this exciting technology gets ready to make its impact on the market.

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