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United States Battery Market for Military/Aerospace Applications
Frost & Sullivan, March 2010, Pages: 109
The U.S. battery market for military/aerospace applications is segmented into battery areas including aircraft, communication/surveillance equipment batteries, vehicle power, and other applications. The analysis includes primary lithium batteries, zinc air, silver zinc, secondary nickel batteries (nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride), secondary lithium-ion, lead acid, zinc air and fuel cells. The objective of this study is to identify the market’s potential across the forecast period by discussing the impact of changes in demand, input costs, and competitive factors. The analysis will provide a strategic assessment of the industry and opportunities that present themselves to various participants across the value chain.
The major competitive challenges include the vendor’s capability to meet the military specifications or control inventory supply impacted by fluctuating demand over theyears. In addition, the ability to keep up with the capabilities of newer applications will decide the overall revenue growth for military batteries. The lack of product originality has created a more competitive environment for vendors struggling to differentiate their commodity products from the others.
The competitive structure of the market is highly diverse due tothe varying market age stages. The military battery market competitors can be divided into two tiers.
Tier 1 Battery Vendors
- The tier 1 segment of the market consists of battery vendors that participate as well established global players -operating in more than one region. Common traits include a wideproduct line that serves all or a majority of the battery market segments, global manufacturing facilities, a wide distribution network supported by post-sales service, and strong brand recognition. Companies that fall in this tier are Saft, Exide Technologies, EnerSys, Ultralife Batteries, and others.
Tier 2 Battery Vendors
- The tier 2 segment of the market consists of battery vendors whoparticipate as regional players. Markets include niche sectors and/or specializing in military applications. Key players include Eagle-Picher Technologies, East Penn Manufacturing, Concorde Batteries, Valence Technologies, Quallion, A123 Systems, EnerDel, and others.
Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) Batteries
A typical NiCD battery chemistry consists of three components: nickel oxide in its positive electrode called cathode, a cadmium compound at the negative electrode called anode, and a potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution in the electrolyte. These cell components are isolated by a separator to prevent contact between the electrodes. Cells are typically manufactured in a sealed, vented, and application-specific design.
Throughout the forecast period, this chemistry is expected to slow down in growth as it has several alternatives in the secondary battery segment. For instance, lithium-ion has further penetrated the market, and this chemistry is expected to cannibalize the nickel based chemistries for military communication equipment. NiCD suffers from a memory effect, which in the long-term reduces the battery life cycle. This can be a disadvantage in the military market, where reliability is key.
In the total market, the NiCD chemistry is expected to decline at (8.4) percent, compounded annually. This chemistry has a longer service life than nickel metal hydride, but suffersfrom memory effect when not charged properly.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
A typical NiMH battery is made up of three components, a positive nickel electrode (nickel -hydroxide), a negative hydrogen-absorbing alloy electrode, and an electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. NiMH batteries utilize hydrogen absorbing alloys in their negative electrode (anode) and nickel oxide or nickel hydroxide or nickel oxyhydroxide in their positive electrode (cathode). Potassium hydroxide makesup a large portion of the electrolyte in an NiMH battery. A small amount of electrolyte is used in this sealed design and is absorbed by the separator and the electrodes.
This battery is superior to NiCD as it does not suffer from memory effect that could shorten its life cycle. However, it is heavier than more advanced rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion. This chemistry is adversely affected by substitutions such as lithium-ion used in communication equipment.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries
Li-ion batteries are a recent secondary battery chemistry launched in early 1990s aimed at advancing consumer electronic devices by providing longer battery runtime and lighter weight power option. Li-ion batteries have superior energy density, light weight and better life cycle compared with other secondary chemistries such as nickel metal hydride. Li-ion is a preferred choice for consumer electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, MP3 players, GPS, and others. Other industrial portable applications such as power tools, medical, and military equipment are increasingly transitioning to Li-ion. Li-ion batteries are a very high energy density rechargeable chemistry. Designing smaller and lighter devices ismore likely with this battery chemistry than with NiCD and NiMH batteries.Secondary Li-ion batteries are now used in several military applications, including weapons, communication equipment, unmanned vehicles, and others. The cells are typically smaller in size, and are designed with either the spiral wound or prismatic configuration. For the most part, the lithium-ion chemistry is not used as frequently on the battlefield as charging facilities are extremely hard to maintain and operate. Li-ion is used primarily for training purposes.
Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Batteries
This is the most common type of secondary batteries for militarycommunication equipment. Sealed lead acid batteries are used in fixed communication devices where the weight of the battery is not a critical factor. Low self-discharge coupled with low maintenance requirements and an easy manufacturing process make these an ideal choice for many devices. However, these batteries have a low energy density in comparison to other rechargeable ones and cannot be quickly recharged. Moreover, their bulkiness is a contributing factor for the market share gradually declining, especially if the battery addsadditional weight for the soldier to carry.
Primary Lithium Batteries
Primary lithium battery segment includes lithium/sulfur dioxide (Li/SO2), lithium/thionyl chloride( Li/SOCL2), lithium/manganese dioxide (Li/MnO2), lithium/carbon monofluoride(Li/CFx), and other primary lithium battery chemistries. Primary lithium batteries are non-rechargeable batteries that have lithium or lithium compounds asanode. The cathode material used decides the type of primary lithium battery. Within the lithium battery group, there are several different chemistries, each with unique features that make them more suitable for some applications than others.
What separates one lithium chemistry from another are differences that include the material makeup of the cathode, the construction of the cell, the electrolyte, energy density, operating ranges of temperatures, shelf life, safety, reliability, storage, discharge capability, and rate capability Lithium batteries have superior energy density (three times that of conventional alkaline) and long life cycle compared with other primary chemistries. With average replacement rate every ten or more years, primary lithium batteries are well suited for remote and robust applications.
Zinc Air Batteries
The zinc-air primary battery has made an impact on the military battery market however penetration has not achieved the level expected when the technology first entered the market.However, as the military branches, particularly the Army, continue to strive for lightweight, high energy density power solutions, zinc air may be the answer to some issues. Zinc air is a system that takes oxygen from the atmosphere to react with metallic zinc to produce electrical energy. The oxygen is in an alkaline electrolyte. From the 1930s through the 1980s, these batteries, in large form, were used for channel buoys and other maritime applications.
Silver Zinc Batteries
Silver zinc batteries are available in primary, primary reserve,and secondary configurations. Silver zinc is used for guidance and telemetry for missiles and torpedoes and propulsionfor underwater vehicles and torpedoes. NASA uses this chemistry in many space missions. Military silver zincbatteries are very different than small, single primary commercial cells used in electronic equipment. The basic cell consists of a zinc (Zn) negative electrode, a silver oxide (AgO) positive electrode, and potassium hydroxide (KOH) aqueous electrolyte. In addition to the electrodes and electrolyte, the battery contains multiple layers of polymer separator that prevent physical contact between the electrodes, and keeps the electrolyte in place. The cell uses either a plastic or metal case, which is sealed and contains a standard safety vent deployed on most batteries in the market.
At present, portable fuel cell technology for the military market is in the R&D and testing stage of development. There are several designs that are being tested, and each competitor in the market has a slightly different focus (whether it is a different fuel or design of cartridge). However, the common objective is to secure a viable niche market from the conventional rechargeable battery market.
In the military sector, fuel cell designs are in the prototype stage in the form of external power sources that either supplies power to the device or recharges the conventional battery. However, the natural next step for this technology includes fuel cells that essentially replace the conventional rechargeable battery completely. These cells must be small enough to be inserted into the battery compartments of existing equipment. Additionally, the cells must produce enough electrical current to power these devices and be lightweight and of flexible design for multiple devices.
1 | U.S. BATTERY MARKET FOR MILITARY/AEROSPACE APPLICATIONS
- Military/Aerospace Battery Market
-- 1. Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Battery Market for Military/Aerospace Applications
2 | DECISION SUPPORT DATABASE (DSD)
- Supporting Data - DSD Tables
-- 1. Military Expenditure
-- 2. Military Expenditures on Research & Development
-- 3. Military Aircraft
-- 4. Military Expenditure - Equipment Procurement
-- 5. Military Expenditure - Operation and Maintenance
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