Last month I had the pleasure of speaking to a conference sponsored by NAATBatt member GCube Insurance Services about the growth for electricity storage on the grid.  As part of my presentation, I displayed a slide, originally authored by Navigant Consulting, which is my favorite slide about the advanced battery industry.

The slide describes the projected world market for advanced batteries by application in 2014-2023.  The slide shows the size of the market for advanced automotive batteries quickly gaining on the size of the consumer market and overtaking it sometime in the 2016-2017 timeframe.  The slide also indicates that the market for stationary energy storage will grow from almost nothing in 2014 to roughly equal the size of the market for advanced automotive batteries by 2023.

But that is not why the Navigant slide is my favorite slide.  It is my favorite slide because of two things it does not show.  The first is that the market for advanced automotive batteries, which is quickly gaining on the consumer battery market in 2015, would not have even been on the chart in 2010.  The second is that the slide for 2023 is clearly wrong.  It is simply missing one or more significant major bars corresponding to applications of advanced battery technology that we cannot yet clearly foresee. Which bars are missing on the Navigant slide is the great mystery of the battery industry.  And that mystery is what makes our business so damned interesting.

An article sent to me earlier this week by another member may provide a clue as one of the missing bars.  The article and embedded video recounts ongoing efforts by NASA to remodel some of basic elements of aircraft design.  Apparently huge efficiencies can be gained in aircraft design by using a series of distributed electric motors and small propellers to direct air current directly over the wing, as opposed to using one large propeller to drag an aircraft through the air.

The gating technology necessary to unlock this potential revolution in aircraft design is, of course, batteries.  Storing more energy in smaller mass in order to power those small electric motors is all that stands between expensive, fuel inefficient aircraft and a potential revolution in transportation technology.  And those of us in industry already know:  better batteries are coming.

This week also saw a blog by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reporting on Panasonic’s predictions of a 16.9% CAGR for advanced automotive lithium batteries and a 74.9% CAGR for stationary lithium-ion batteries through 2025.  Interestingly, Panasonic predicts that the stationary battery market will be roughly five times the size of the automotive advanced battery market by 2025.  Unfortunately, Panasonic made no predictions about other battery applications that may by 2025 compete with stationary batteries for overall market size.

All these predictions give impetus to NAATBatt’s mission to help our members identify new opportunities and new markets for advanced electrochemical energy storage technology.  This is a great and exciting time to be in the battery business.  Stay involved in NAATBatt to keep abreast of the latest thinking about where the industry is going and where the opportunities will be in the future for those in the advanced battery supply chain.