Companies with activities in the electricity storage space could be future winners as the pandemic accelerates fourth revolution technologies. The robotization, digitalization, and electrification of everything require lightweight, compact, and inexpensive electricity storage technologies.
There is a global technology race to develop electricity storage technologies.
The generation of electricity, the spinning of magnets around a copper coil, known as electromagnetism, is what powers the electronics sensors, fans, and entertainment systems in automobiles. Mechanical motion generates electricity on demand.
As we are on the cusp of mass electrification, the challenge of our age is not the generation of electricity, but electricity storage which remains a journey of discovery
The technology in stationary electric storage, for applications in portable computing and smartphones, which will likely facilitate the future of digital currency replacing notes and coins, has improved over the last decade.
In the sphere of electricity, mobility inventors continue to push the boundaries of existing electricity storage technologies.
The conundrum of how to store electricity in large quantities and at a price affordable to suppliers and consumers remains unsolved and has not been brought to market
According to the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) of the International Energy Agency (IEA), close to 10 000 GWh of batteries across the energy system and other forms of energy storage will be required annually by 2040, compared with around 200 GWh today.
Inventors are rising to the electricity storage challenge
As Darren Winters points out, there has been a sizeable increase in patent activity in battery storage technologies, which suggests that innovators are devoting considerable effort to identifying commercially viable means of electricity storage.
Patenting activity in electricity storage has grown much faster than patenting activity in general over the past decade.
“More than 7 000 international patent families (IPFs) related to electricity storage were published in 2018, up from 1 029 in 2000.
With an annual growth rate of 14% until 2018, compared with just 3.5% on average for all technology areas across the economy,” according to the European Patent Office. The chart, entitled “Trends in electric storage innovation”; Source European Patent Office, underscores heightened activity in electric storage technologies.
Heightened activity surrounding electricity storage patents also suggests that we will see a boom in electricity storage technologies coming to the market within the next few years
Electrochemical inventions (i.e. batteries) account for 88% of all patenting activity in the area of electricity storage, which far outweighing electrical (9%), thermal (5%), and mechanical (3%) solutions. Although all of these fields experienced rapid growth up to 2012 since this time growth in innovation has only continued in battery technology, thereby underlining the dominance of batteries in the current electricity storage innovation landscape.
What is the dominant electric storage technology in portable electronics and electric vehicles?
li-ion is currently the dominant battery storage technology powering portable electronics and electric vehicles.
“In 2018, innovation in Li-ion cells was responsible for 45% of patenting activity related to battery cells,” according to the European Patent Office. What’s more Li-ion prices continue to fall. For example, since 1995, Li-ion battery prices for consumer electronics have fallen by more than 90%. For electric vehicles, Li-ion prices have decreased by almost 90% since 2010, while for stationary applications, including electricity grid management, they have dropped by around two-thirds over the same period.
Battery cells are assembled into battery packs, which are configured to deliver the desired voltage for the load, whether it be for consumer electronics to electric vehicles.
It is the battery pack innovations that can figure out how to configure the battery cells for electricity storage, particularly for electric mobility applications are likely to be the winners of the electric vehicles age
Patenting activity in battery packs has been rising faster than that related to battery cells.
So, this indicates a level of technological maturity, as attention has shifted away from the basic science behind this technology and towards ways to optimize its delivery to cater to the highly demanding commercial market, notes the European Patent Office.
Electric vehicle patents for battery packs electric storage technologies continued to grow with even more momentum.
In short, Darren Winters see smart capital flows into innovation and ingenuity of electric storage lightweight, compact, and affordable battery packs that facilitate electric mass transportation going forward.
What countries and companies are leading the way in developing electricity storage technologies?
In terms of countries and continents, Asia is leading the global battery back electricity storage technologies race with Japan in the first place, then followed by the Republic of Korea.
The top applicant is Japan with 2339 pattens for battery technology during 2000 and 2018, then a distant second is the Republic of Korea with 1230 applications. The third is the contracting states to the European Patent Convention with 1021 patents, fourth is China 871, and coming last in the US with 817 patents for battery technology.
Of the top ten global applicants behind IPFs related to batteries, nine are based in Asia They include seven Japanese companies, led by Panasonic and Toyota, and two Korean companies, Samsung and LG Electronics
Only one European company Boch, a German company, is the only non-Asian applicant to feature in the ranking. From 2014-2018, Japan alone was home to the inventors of 41% of all Li-ion patenting activity.
Companies like LG Electronics, Toyota, Nissan, and Bosch have rapidly increased their inventive activity in the area of batteries, with a focus on automotive applications. Samsung also has a major presence in vehicle batteries, but its patenting growth has been more focused on portable electronics.
The energy titans of tomorrow’s powering the electrification of everything could be hidden diamonds companies incorporating the ingenuity and innovation of electricity storage technologies
A 10,000 USD investment in Tesla, the pioneer of electric vehicles in 2012 would be worth a million USD today. Could those kinds of returns be repeated by investing early in a winning electricity storage technology company?