Batteries – the Next Frontier for a Device-focused Society

 

No matter what device you depend on – whether it’s a flashlight, a smartphone, or a computer – it won’t work without a battery. Yet the science behind batteries has been relatively underwhelming. Until now.

Battery technology enters the 21st century

Much of the key development work on batteries dates back to the 1800s. And since then the lowly battery has powered our society in a relatively low-key way. Now, however, the battery has been dragged into the 21st century by new technology. And investors such as billionaire Warren Buffett are betting its time has come.

As Michael J. De La Merced noted in the New York Times, “By essentially agreeing to swap his firm’s holdings in P&G, worth about $4.7 billion, in exchange for Duracell, Mr. Buffett will gain one of the best-known battery companies in the world.” And market share.

$50 billion market

While many claim Buffett’s purchase is a tax maneuver, others believe he sees big opportunities in today’s $50 billion global battery market. Batteries represent the new frontier. And Buffett is not alone in noticing.

Tesla, under CEO Elon Musk, recently launched the Powerwall home battery to revolutionize the way we use energy, envisioning a network of home batteries acting as power plants. The product, initially high-priced, will become more affordable and more desirable, Musk believes.

Developments

Meanwhile, ScienceDaily’s Batteries News regularly highlights new developments in batteries, ranging from “squishies” made from wood pulp to an ultrafast aluminum battery. And Stanford University researchers have discovered that battery activity can help track a cell phone’s location – without using the phone’s GPS feature.

Seems that these days everyone’s charged up over batteries. And some are betting big.