Better Batteries May Spark New Consumer Devices, Cars


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8BASF (BASFY), Toyota  (TM) and IBM  (IBM) are among companies placing sizable  early bets on next-generation batteries that could better power things big or  small, such as electric cars or maybe wristwatch computers, according to Lux  Research analyst Cosmin Laslau. But not for a while.

First the new batteries might get a real-world test powering unmanned aerial  vehicles — drones and microvehicles — for the military, he says, as it’s a case  where the customer might be willing to pay double for a 10% improvement in power  for the weight. Several new technologies could deliver up to 10 times more  energy than today’s batteries, Lux Research says in a new report.

The current Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery market is worth north of $10  billion, Laslau says. But for now applications are limited at the small end by  how much power output the batteries have for their size — think of how much  space the battery of an Apple (AAPL)  iPhone takes up. On the big end of applications are electric cars, where the  cost of a large-enough battery to provide a useful number of miles in driving  range is a limiting factor. Size is an issue there, too.

“When you get to large size like say a Tesla (TSLA)  electric vehicle, in order to get the range people want … it might cost  $30,000 for the battery alone,” Laslau said.

The report, “Beyond Lithium-Ion: A Roadmap for Next-Generation Batteries,”  that Laslau put together with two contributors sees military users as the entry  point for next-gen batteries around 2020 and consumer electronics adopting new  solid-state batteries by 2030, but it’s a hard sell for next-gen batteries in  transportation to unseat Li-ion batteries. Meanwhile, research and other kinds  of gains are expected to continue improving those and push down costs.

The next-gen battery types that could be Li-ion alternatives go by names such as Lithium-air, Lithium-sulfur, Solid-state (ceramic or polymer) and Zinc-air. They have different safety and power profiles, with solid-state having a safety edge. Several startups, such as PolyPlus, Sion Power and Oxis Energy, are working on next-gen types, and Laslau says one hard part is translating them from prototype to production. BASF has put $50 million into Sion, he adds.

The report notes that giants such as IBM, Bosch, Toyota and BMW are active in  battery research — and the last two recently partnered on it.

Some government-backed battery startups “have failed spectacularly,” Laslau  said, with A123 Systems the prime example.

“Now the U.S. has changed tack and put $120 million into Argonne National  Lab’s JCESR, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research,” he said. It will  focus on fundamental R&D rather than making bets on startups.

“We think this is a very promising development,” Laslau said, noting that the  lab is also partnering “with really well-established companies like Johnson  Controls (JCI) that have the expertise to  mass-produce any prototypes.” Other partners include Dow  Chemical (DOW) and Applied  Materials (AMAT).

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/technology/032013-648660-next-generation-batteries-might-power-smartwatches-electric-cars.htm#ixzz2QpxswlBF Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

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Key Patent Analysis on Quantum Dot Displays Released


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 802/21/2013

 

 

 

Note To Readers: While monitoring patent activity is neither novel nor “ground breaking”, it is worthy to note the activity as it applies in certains areas of research with burgeoning interest … such as the application of “nanomaterials” in the OLED/ QLED markets, as being “the next generation display material.”

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The quantum dot recently emerged as a next-generation display material. Quantum dots, whose diameter is just a few nanometers, are semiconductor crystals. The smaller its particle is, the more short-wavelength light are emitted; the larger its particle is, the more long-wavelength lights get emitted.
Considering that there are more advantages with the quantum dots over conventional light sources, it is not surprising that the quantum dot display gains a lot of attention. The quantum dot display consumes lower power and has a richer color than the conventional OLED. In addition, the white light produced by quantum dots has high brightness and excellent color reproduction, raising its potential to replace the backlight unit (BLU) using the LED. Not surprisingly, leading companies in the display industry are accelerating to secure relevant technologies.

Analysis of Patent Application Trends By country, 93 patents (or 34%) were filed in South Korea, 87 in the U.S., 36 in Japan, 22 in Europe, and 35 under the PCT. By technology, patents on quantum dot light emitting diodes (QLED) technology (188 patents, 69%) were applied the most, followed by those on BLU using the white light source; quantum dot display; and LED-using white light source technologies.

Implications As the quantum dot display has emerged as the next-generation display technology ever since the OLED, the leading companies in the display industry, including Samsung and LG, are making aggressive investment to take a lead in the technology. They not only develop their own technologies, but also purchase patents from; make technology licensing agreements with; or make equity investment in the companies of the field.

The competition to obtain key patents on the quantum dot display is expected to only increase. Monitoring published/issued patents on a regular basis and having a thorough analysis on them have become more important.

Key Patent Report – Quantum Dot Display covers patent application trends and an in-depth analysis.

*** Excerpted from: Flexible OLED/ QLED Screen Markets to Reach $72 Billion by 2016

” … Once freed from today’s relatively heavy, breakable and fixed glass displays, tomorrow’s devices may look very different, with screens that can be rolled out, attached to uneven surfaces, or even stretched. But there’s still some way to go.

“It becomes a product designer’s paradise — once the technology is sorted out,” says Jonathan Melnick, who analyzes display technology for Lux Research.

There is no shortage of prototypes. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics this year showed off a display screen that extends from the side of a device — but obstacles remain: overcoming technical issues, figuring out how to mass produce parts cheaply, and coming up with devices compelling enough for gadget buyers.

Screen technology — with the global small display market expected to more than double to around $72 billion by 2016, according to DisplaySearch — is still dominated by liquid crystal displays (LCDs), which require a backlight and sit between two sheets of glass, making the screen a major contributor to the weight of a device, from laptops to tablets.”

Link Here: https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/flexible-oled-qled-screen-markets-to-reach-72b-by-2016/

Flexible OLED/ QLED Screen Markets to Reach $72B by 2016


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8The touted arrival this year of wearable gadgets such as computer displays strapped to wrists and in wrap-around glasses is just a step towards a bigger revolution in screens — those that can be bent, folded and rolled up.

Once freed from today’s relatively heavy, breakable and fixed glass displays, tomorrow’s devices may look very different, with screens that can be rolled out, attached to uneven surfaces, or even stretched. But there’s still some way to go.

“It becomes a product designer’s paradise — once the technology is sorted out,” says Jonathan Melnick, who analyzes display technology for Lux Research.

There is no shortage of prototypes. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics this year showed off a display screen that extends from the side of a device — but obstacles remain: overcoming technical issues, figuring out how to mass produce parts cheaply, and coming up with devices compelling enough for gadget buyers.

Screen technology — with the global small display market expected to more than double to around $72 billion by 2016, according to DisplaySearch — is still dominated by liquid crystal displays (LCDs), which require a backlight and sit between two sheets of glass, making the screen a major contributor to the weight of a device, from laptops to tablets.

“Most of the weight in a tablet is the glass structure in the display and the support structure around it to prevent it from cracking,” said Kevin Morishige, a former engineer at Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Palm.

LCD’s dominance is already under threat from lighter Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) that don’t need backlighting, are brighter, offer a wider viewing angle and better color contrast — and can be printed onto a few layers.

From Gorilla to Willow

Glass, however, is getting lighter and more flexible.

Corning, whose toughened Gorilla glass became the screen of choice for many smartphones, will provide phones with curved glass edges as soon as this year. It is also now promoting Willow Glass, which can be as thin as a sheet of paper and is flexible enough to be wrapped around a device or structure. Initially, Willow will be used as a coating for products like solar panels, but it is eventually expected to create curved products.

Corning's Willow Glass

Corning’s Willow Glass

A key selling point for Willow is more efficient production which involves so-called roll-to-roll manufacturing, like a printing press, rather than today’s more costly batch manufacturing. But the commercialization of Willow as a flexible product is some way off, James Clappin, who heads Corning’s glass technology group, told Reuters.

And glass has its limits.

“You can bend it, but you can’t keep flexing it,” said Adrian Burden, a UK consultant who has worked on several start-ups related to display technology, and holds patents in the field. This means that while glass is likely to continue to play a leading role in devices with curved displays, screens that users can bend, fold and roll will likely be plastic.

But plastic is not as robust as glass. “As soon as you introduce plastic substrates you have all kinds of issues with sensitivity to the environment,” says Burden.

Plugging the leaks 

So while OLED and plastic would seem to be companion technologies they create an extra problem when laid together: they need so-called barrier films to prevent the various layers from leaking oxygen and moisture.

“There are barrier films in all sorts of products, for example food packaging, but the challenge is that OLED is one of the most sensitive materials we follow, and so creates huge challenges,” says Lux Research’s Melnick.

Singapore-based Tera-Barrier Films, for example, has developed a way to plug leaks in the layers using nanoparticles. Director Senthil Ramadas says that after years of delays the company last month started production in Japan and aims for mass production by end-2014.

“You have several challenges in the value chain,” he said. “All these things need to be established, and only now is it coming out.”

And there’s another problem: all the materials in a bendable display need to be bendable, too — including the transparent conductors that drive current through the display. Several technologies are vying to replace the brittle and expensive Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) used in most fixed displays, including nanowires, carbon nanotubes, graphene and conductive mesh.

Some of these technologies are close to production. Another Singapore-based firm, Cima Nanotech, for example, rolls a coating of silver-based conductive ink on a sheet which then self-aligns into a web of strands a few microns across that forms the conductive layer.

It’s unlikely such shifts in the underlying technologies will yield products immediately. For one thing, “prototypes can be made,” says Melnick, “but that’s a long way from mass production as many of the processes and material in these devices face big yield and scaling issues.”

On a roll

This is gradually changing, some in the industry say, as production shifts from making parts in batches of sheets to the more efficient roll-to-roll process. “Batch is more expensive and slower than roll-to-roll, which needs new equipment and design — and takes time,” said Ramadas at Tera-Barrier.

All this requires money, and manufacturers have to be convinced to invest in the new equipment.

Even after the success of Gorilla Glass, popularized by the iPhone, Corning is having to work hard to prepare customers for Willow displays. Clappin said customers want thinner devices and easier to produce glass, but Willow requires a completely different manufacturing set-up.

“When we talk about commercializing Willow a big part of our development activity is enabling the ecosystem to handle what is essentially a brand new material,” Clappin added. “Nobody’s accustomed to working with glass that bends and moves. It’s a new material. The ecosystem needs to be trained to handle it.”

He sees demand, particularly from video gamers, for Willow-based curved screens, but remains less convinced about rollable or foldable screens. “Conformable is in the near future. As far as flexible, bendable, fold-upable goes, I see that further out and I’m not even sure that’s a viable product,” he said.

For companies with deep pockets, like Samsung, this can mean building prototypes such as those displayed at international technology shows. But that doesn’t guarantee success in selling products. Sony, for example, promoted flexible OLED displays back in 2007. “Six years later they’ve not come up with anything,” says Zhang Jie, senior scientist at Singapore’s Institute of Metals Research and Engineering. “If Samsung’s going to really drive this the application really needs to drive people and make them want it.”

This slows down the process. In late 2011, Samsung told analysts it planned to introduce flexible displays into handsets “some time in 2012, hopefully the earlier part than later,”but a year later the company said the technology was still “under development.” In an investment note last month Jefferies said that while Samsung may introduce “unbreakable” screens this year, it didn’t expect to see flexible displays in Samsung devices until 2014-15.

Ultimately, teasing out the technical problems may be only half the battle.

“This is the eternal question of the speciality materials industry,” says Lutz Grubel, Japan-based head of marketing for German glass maker Schott’s Xensation Cover 3-D glass. “You have something, a material, and you’re looking for an application. That’s the game.”

For More Information On OLED/ QLED Markets go to this Wintergreen Research Report:

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/quantum-dot-and-quantum-dot-display-qled-market-shares-strategies-and-forecasts-worldwide-nanotechnology-2013-to-2019/

China, India Emerge as Most Promising High-Growth Markets for Solar


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Japan, U.K., France, and South Korea also offer attractive landscape and large addressable markets, according to Lux Research‘s analysis of policy and market drivers

 

BOSTON, Feb 12, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Global policy changes and the crystalline silicon module price crash have brought the solar industry to a pivotal point from which it must transform and thrive in a cost-conscious environment, targeting high-growth markets such as China and India, says Lux Research.

“While some historically strong demand markets will continue to pay dividends, the real winners going forward will need to make a few well-informed bets,” said Matt Feinstein, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Past is Prologue: Market Selection Strategy in a New Solar Policy Environment.”

“Successful players will anchor business in key developed regions like the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China, and place informed bets in markets like South/Central America, the Middle East, and Africa, through new offices or partnerships,” he added.

Lux Research analyzed the risk vs. reward, based on policy and market factors, for both distributed and utility-scale solar in countries around the world. Among their findings:

— Europe shines for distributed generation. Established markets remain fruitful for distributed generation despite downturns in demand and reduced feed-in tariffs. Markets such as Germany and Italy have demonstrated a strong preference for rooftop systems and have strong existing channels to market.

— Utility-scale generation soars in emerging markets. High-growth markets come with high risks as well, but emerging economies of India, China, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia are set to become solar powers. Competition is booming in the last three in particular, and each will exceed installation targets.

— Fortune favors the bold. In solar, firms that take calculated risks and expand quickly into foreign markets will boost success, as First Solar and many Chinese module manufacturers have shown. As the Chinese industry consolidates, opportunities exist for other global players.

The report, titled “Past is Prologue: Market Selection Strategy in a New Solar Policy Environment,” is part of the Lux Research Solar Systems Intelligence service.

About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit http://www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.

http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=bwnews&sty=20130212005101r1&sid=cmtx4&distro=nx

SOURCE: Lux Research

Solar Panel Makers Need Equipment Upgrades to Survive Shakeout


With overcapacity of 82%, companies need innovative tools to differentiate from cheaper Chinese rivals, says Lux Research.

English: Thin-film PV array

English: Thin-film PV array (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOSTON, Oct 25, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Reeling from a glut of production capacity, makers of solar panels need to acquire innovative production equipment in order to cut costs, increase margins, and offer differentiated products, according to Lux Research.

This year, global capacity utilization is at 55% for crystalline silicon (x-Si) module production, 70% for cadmium telluride (CdTe) and 80% for copper indium gallium (di) selenide (CIGS). Consequently, cell and module manufacturers are turning to core product differentiation to revamp margins and fend off low-cost Chinese competition.

“Across the industry there is recognition that innovation is needed to survive a shakeout,” said Fatima Toor, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Opportunities in the Turbulent Photovoltaic Equipment Market.” “Equipment suppliers have a vital role to play in enabling that innovation.”

Lux Research analysts examined the PV production equipment landscape to identify opportunities for innovation. Among their findings:

— There’s opportunity in reducing silicon costs. Current wafer sawing techniques waste silicon; in contrast, technologies, such as direct solidification and epitaxial silicon eliminate the need for wafer sawing. Emerging quasi-monocrystalline silicon (qc-Si) ingot growth enables 40% cheaper c-Si wafers.

— In CIGS, standardization is key. CIGS thin-film PV relies on custom equipment today. However, off-the-shelf tools and improved throughput will drive higher efficiencies, performance and yield – lowering capex and helping manufacturers attain scale and competitive production costs.

— New cell designs lead to equipment upgrades. Emerging cell designs, such as selective emitter (SE) and heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) present potential for high efficiencies. However, they require new tools, and as a result, 60% to 70% of new equipment sales are for the cell production equipment.

The report, titled “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Opportunities in the Turbulent Photovoltaic Equipment Market,” is part of the Lux Research Solar Components Intelligence service.

About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and on-going intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit http://www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.

SOURCE: Lux Research

Note To Readers: We have been following a ‘disruptive nanotechnology’ company, researching and developing a ‘3rd Generation’ of solar cells based in part on low-cost quantum dots and reduced input cost printing techniques. Below is a short excerpt from a website, a link also provided below. Perhaps, with innovation such as this, the U.S. Solar industry can become the clear leader in providing grid competitive renewable energy. Perhaps ….        Cheers!  – BWH-

Solterra Renewable Technologies  

http://www.solterrasolarcells.com/corporate_vision.php?ID=11

“Solterra will be producing and distributing a Thin Film Quantum Dot PV Solar Cell which is differentiated from other PV cells by a unique technology that results in lower cost, higher efficiency, and broader spectral performance.  Solterra’s Quantum Dot Solar Cell achieves a dramatically lower manufacturing cost per watt because no vacuum equipment is required, no expensive silicon is required and low-cost screen printing and/or inkjet techniques are used on inexpensive substrates. Secondly, the Solterra Thin Film Quantum Dot Solar Cell has the potential to generate multiple excitons from each proton providing the potential for exponential improvements in conversion efficiency. Third, Solterra’s PV cell is not only more efficient in the early morning and late afternoon compared to crystalline silicon PV cells, but it also has the potential to harvest light energy in the infrared and ultraviolet spectra.