Energy storage and cleantech investing
For example, batteries are currently a limiting factor in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Improved battery technology that would extend the range of battery-powered locomotion would enable these types of cars to achieve in the near future what fuel cell vehicles are expected to achieve in the longer-term. This Red Herring article describes this debate and mentions how big the market for such batteries is already ($2.9B in 2003).
But transportation is not the only place where improved battery technology could help grow clean technology markets. There are other examples in:
- Sensors, where improved batteries would help spur growth in wireless sensor networks,
- Electricity infrastructure, where batteries could help a number of "smart grid" applications,
- Improved backup power systems,
- Clean energy generation such as wind and solar, where the power generated is variable, to help "smooth out" supply,
- And numerous others.
On the flip side, energy storage may be where fuel cells make their biggest initial impact (as previously described here), through "battery replacement" applications. A lot of cleantech investors are making big bets in this space as well.