The demand for sophisticated multi-tasking consumer electronic gadgets and portable equipment expects to drive growth of nickel batteries, which are renowned for their high energy density and wide operating temperatures. Technical innovations such as bipolar nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries will create growth prospects for the NiMH batteries market. Overall, the growth of nickel batteries will likely be more pronounced in the industrial and automotive application segments in the next five to seven years.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (batteries.frost.com), World Nickel Battery Market, finds this market earned revenues of $1.98 billion in 2006 and estimates this to reach $2.24 billion in 2013.
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Given their rugged nature and low maintenance profile, nickel batteries are preferred in applications such as emergency lighting, backup solutions, safety alarms in locomotive works, power tools and other applications. Although newer battery chemistries emerge to replace nickel batteries in these applications, these new battery chemistries are not as rugged as nickel batteries. For this reason, nickel batteries expect to be more widely used during the forecast period.
"Furthermore, emerging automotive applications such as electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) offer strong growth potential for nickel batteries," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Suba Arunkumar. "NiMH chemistry, being a safe, reliable and proven technology, is widely used for HEVs and EVs. Moreover, NiMH batteries are inexpensive and are also stable at higher temperatures."
However, nickel batteries face severe competition from alternative battery chemistries such as lithium-ion, lithium-ion polymer, silver-zinc batteries and zinc-air batteries. Additionally, regulations and restrictions on the usage of nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries are a significant restraint on the overall nickel battery market. NiCd batteries are non-biodegradable as they employ the toxic heavy metal cadmium. This makes them a threat to the environment, as well as human beings and animals.
"The volatile price of raw materials along with severe competition in a declining market poses challenges for nickel battery manufacturers," says Arunkumar. "This has ensured that most major manufacturers are concentrated in a specific geographic location."
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