The company announced a huge research breakthrough this morning by down-scaling the size of each battery cell.

Innovation Company Strategic Elements (ASX:SOR) is making significant advancements in its self-charging battery technology for wearable electronics – a global market that generates upwards of $US10bn in revenue per year.

It marks another exciting commercial opportunity for the business, as product development continues on its proprietary battery ink technology with a team of leading researchers at the University of NSW (UNSW).

In its latest breakthrough, SOR confirmed it could produce battery ink cells at a scaled-down size for a more optimised power-to-space ratio.

The team achieved its previously-stated goal of a four-times reduction in area for each cell, from 1cm² to 25mm², which successfully produced a 14V power output.

Along with improved flexibility (no cracking) and voltage power, the battery ink cells have also demonstrated the capacity to self-charge from humidity in the air – a product advancement that removes the need for consistent recharging.

It marks an important development because when connected together, smaller batteries can generate more power from the same amount of space as one larger battery.

Today’s update follows on from another tech breakthrough yesterday, where the battery ink cells were fabricated onto cloth and bent more than 2,000 times.

The R&D program aimed to test the flexible strength of the battery and the effect on voltage capacity from repeated bending – both of which were confirmed.

Billion-dollar market

 With its latest results, SOR is building towards an improved solution for wearable electronics – a market which generated over $US10bn in revenue in 2019 and is expected to growth to $US40bn by 2030.

The wearable tech market includes popular devices such as smart watches and heartrate monitors.

In that context, the ability of the research team to reduce the size of battery Ink cells is a key development because it allows for increased design freedom for different wearable devices.

That’s a material improvement on existing battery inputs for wearable devices (such as lithium), which are more rigid.

“Battery Ink geometry is able to be tailored to utilize available space, unlike traditional bulky batteries which have forced the product to be designed to accommodate them,” SOR explained.

“This is particularly relevant to the devices that are attached to the human body.”

While Strategic Element will initially target the global wearable tech sector, its Battery Ink technology can also be applied to an expanded addressable market.

As a result, the research pipeline includes testing the application as a power source for sensors built on plastic and glass (or wrapped around other curved surfaces), as part of improved smart-building designs and infrastructure projects.

Next steps

For investors watching SOR’s key breakthroughs on its proprietary battery ink technology with interest, the company outlined a timeline of near-term steps in the wake of its recent development milestones.

Having confirmed its capacity to down-scale size for increased power output, the company will now turn its attention to a screen-printing prototype.

Already widely-used as a production method for small-scale components in electronics manufacturing, confirmation of the capacity for Battery Ink to be screen printed will be a key next step in building out its application for wearable devices.

The next stage of development will be carried out by SOR’s leading research team at the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering – the Number 1 ranked tertiary school in Australia for material sciences.

With extensive experience in printed electronic inks and memory storage, the research group has attracted more than $20m in research funding and collaborated on projects with major multinational companies.

To build its screen-printing prototype, the team will undertake complex optimisation work at the nanoscale level to establish the right parameters for size and power.

Work on the next stage of development is expected to be completed in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

“Once this has been achieved the team will focus on extended stability of overall power output,” SOR said.

This article was developed in collaboration with Strategic Elements, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.