This week the planning committee for the NAATBatt 2016 Annual Meeting met and began the process of planning the meeting program. Based on the committee’s initial discussion, the program is going to be outstanding.

Among the topics that the meeting will cover is improvements in the manufacturing of lithium-ion battery cells, with particular focus on changing coating and mixing technologies. Several innovations are coming onto the market, which promise dramatically to reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery manufacturing.

Another topic that will be covered is developments in power conversion and charging. Improving the efficiency of current conversion is critical to improving the efficiency of stationary energy storage systems. New types of inductive charging technology will also have a profound effect on how batteries for automobiles and the batteries that will power the internet of everything (IoT) will be designed, sized and used. Power conversion is not strictly an electrochemical issue (though it may have underappreciated issues electrochemical design). But new developments in that technology will have a profound impact on the advanced battery industry.

As previously advertised, the meeting will also feature a panel of IP professionals discussing the role that intellectual property will likely play in the development of the advanced battery market. While the advanced battery market may be relatively new, a lot of lessons can be learned from other industries about how management of IP can support and sometimes hinder the commercialization of new technologies.

The meeting will also feature a panel on the development of hybrid power systems, such as the 48 volt battery, in automotive applications. Full electric drive gets lots of attention. But it represents only one of two routes to substantial electrification of vehicle drivetrains. The panel will focus on how developments in other automotive technologies will be opening new opportunities for batteries and ultracapacitors in hybrid vehicle systems.

Based on feedback from last year’s meeting, the 2015 meeting has reserved 30 slots for member update presentations by our member firms scattered throughout the course of the thee-day meeting. The Energy Storage Innovation Summit will be back again as well, with 20 emerging companies giving “flash” presentations about new energy storage-related technologies available for immediate commercialization by our members and other meeting attendees.

There is more planned for the meeting than this short column can fully describe. But stand by for future announcements about the meeting, and make sure to keep February 29 – March 3 open on your calendar.