Portable Power Devices: Industry Review and Market Projections

Published - Jan 2005| Analyst - Anna Welch Crull| Code - EGY050A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for premium portable power will rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 7.2%, from $4.4 billion in 2004 to $6.3 billion in 2009.
  • Lithium-ion/polymer dominates this market with a 98% share.
  • This will slip somewhat to 94% in 2009.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells are expected to feature very strong growth, rising at an AAGR of 25.4% to $385 million in 2009.
  • Zinc-air cells are a small $12 million market that is expected to reach $26 million in 2009.

INTRODUCTION

The once dominant position of alkaline batteries and nickel–cadmium (NiCad) batteries and some tentative uses of nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries has given way to lithium–ion battery technology. The inherent higher energy density of small fuel cells in comparison to batteries, however, could lead to longer operational time and serve the power demands of next-generation portable electronics. Unsurprisingly, this has led many device manufacturers to examine the technology potential of fuel cells.

For small portable fuel cells to succeed in the market place, the technology must, in most cases, displace batteries or solar panels or succeed in niches that these power sources presently do not fill on a performance basis. Nevertheless, not all the needs for satisfactory portable power have been met. Applications for ever increasing sophisticated portable devices grow yearly.

This BCC review focuses on evolving battery and fuel cell power sources for supplying premium power for portable devices. It identifies both the opportunities and the deficiencies of premium power sources and further identifies the most likely, and concurrently the most appropriate, technologies for advanced portable devices. The total increase in the number of companies showing an involvement in this market sector is an indicator of the intense global interest and activity in the premium power source arena.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The document contains:

  • An overview of premium power sources defined as fuel cells, rechargeable lithium batteries and metal–air fuel cells
  • An examination of these three premium power sources and the one-watt to 150-watt market they compete for
  • An overview of the manufacturers of portable fuel cells and secondary lithium batteries
  • Discussion of current technology and technology trends
  • Profiles of market leaders in these areas.

METHODOLOGY

Research for this review included an in-depth analysis of technical and literature, a well as a review of the history of the technology. Interviews with industry experts, company representatives, federal government researchers, and university scientists provided the basis for an assessment of the outlook for fuel cell applications. Secondary sources of information included product literature from fuel cell system suppliers, and numerous scientific references, patent searches, and BCC's Fuel Cell Technology News, Battery and EV Technology News, and Membrane & Separation Technology News.

Projections are in terms of constant dollars. Historical values are for the year given. Estimates of the fuel cell areas installed in particular application areas were obtained either from surveys done or from estimates of those knowledgeable in the industry. Values that are given for these processes are generally based on the best estimates from those involved in the commercialization of the technology. A primary focus is to seek out all of the companies engaged in or that hope to be engaged in the use of advanced batteries or fuel cells for portable power. Where precise information was not available, a consensus was made using a formulation of reasonable assumptions and estimates based on a baseline obtained from historical data.

INFORMATION SOURCES

The information sources for this study include extensive online research, patent literature, worldwide technical journals and magazines, and interviews with principals in the industry as well as documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This review also includes the results of interviews with company executives and information from technical conferences. The BCC, Inc. monthly newsletters "Battery and EV Technology News," and "Fuel Cell Technology News" provide a timely update of pertinent patents, industry developments and applications.

 

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