Microbatteries with 1-100 mAh capacities address applications with billions of units
An internet search suggests that a microbattery is one that has a small form factor and powers small devices. In our blog "Why form factor matters?," we describe how the flexible form factor of the Ensurge microbattery changes the product design paradigm by having battery conform to the product versus the other way around. But what is necessary to support the important microbattery applications that exist, and are growing?
Devices used within applications requiring a microbattery include processors, sensors, and wireless interfaces like Bluetooth and in some cases small displays that necessitate battery capacities in single digit to tens of milli Amp-hours (mAh). Hence, we at Ensurge define a microbattery as one that supplies mAh capacities of 1-100 mAh.
Like the larger batteries for electric vehicles, microbatteries are evolving from Lithium-Ion to solid-state (more on that transition in another blog). However, currently available solid-state microbatteries only provide micro amp-hours (µAh) capacities that do not meet the 1-100mAh capacity requirements for these large markets. Ensurge is the first to target a mAh capacity solid-state microbattery with customizable form factor.
So, what are the applications? Simply put, they are the hearables, wearables and IoT connected sensors adding up to more than one billion units.
Hearables is the largest segment with more than 500 million units per year including hearing aids and wireless earbuds. This fast-growing category uses Lithium-Ion coin cells today with capacities ranging from 15 to 70 mAh. With small size, hearables contain small batteries with low capacity. With twice the energy density, Ensurge microbattery can double the capacity with the same size or halve the size for the same capacity. Next big one is faster charging. Ensurge solid-state microbattery charges three times faster compared to Lithium Ion which is a significant benefit for the end users. Finally, Ensurge microbattery offers 2X+ charge cycles extending the useful life of a hearable product.
Wearables include various form factors including wrist, finger, eye, and body and use cases spanning across sports, fitness, and digital health. Digital health is especially well positioned to explode with an increasingly health-conscious world population and remote patient monitoring. Wearables continue to evolve with new form factors that are possible only with a solid-state mAh microbattery. Required capacity ranges from 30mAh to 100mAh and could go up to 150mAh with a display. Many evolving form factors (e.g., eyeglasses) cannot use the existing coin-cell Lithium-Ion batteries. Small and flexible form factors offered by the Ensurge microbattery make these product designs possible. Some of these new products need a battery like Ensurge microbattery that can withstand temperatures as high as 150°C during molding. Faster charging and 2X+ charge cycles are the other two key Ensurge microbattery attributes that lead to better wearable products.
IOT connected sensors go across several industrial, non-industrial, and consumer applications. Many of them use primary batteries today that are sized to meet the target product life which can be in years. This solution leads to wastage of batteries with large capacities - 100's to 1000's of mAh - as they are thrown away at the end of the cycle creating an avoidable environmental impact. Typical use cases involve one or more sensor values measured and sent to a server on a periodic basis. Batteries need to withstand industrial temperature range of -20°C to +85°C.
Energy harvesting technologies are dramatically changing this architecture reducing the capacity needed by orders of magnitude to mAh microbatteries. Supercapacitor is an option to store the harvested energy, but they are bulky, leaky, and unsafe. Ensurge microbatteries offer a better option as they are safe, have a long shelf life, can operate in a wider temperature range, are lighter, and have a flexible and small form factor.
Ensurge solid-state microbattery targets mAh capacities and supports key functionality including smaller and customizable form factor, faster charging, and higher charge cycles required by the applications that represent a billion+ units market opportunity.