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While many companies are working on making batteries for consumer products smaller or more efficient, others have done away with batteries entirely and make consumer devices that use microwatts to milliwatts of energy without either batteries or capacitors. A report from IDTechEx Research released in November said that billions of wireless electronic and electrical products on the market now have been built to function without batteries at all.

This is done through several different types of energy harvesting, including electrodynamics, photovoltaic, and thermoelectric.

"We are talking not only of eliminating batteries from more and more mobile electronics but heading for achieving this with non-toxic everyday materials and even biocompatible or biodegradable structural electronics. It is an exciting alternative to the old components-in-a-box approach with troublesome materials,” said Peter Harrop, lead author of the report.

The report highlights EnOcean, which distributes building controls to over 400,000 buildings and boats and powers them using energy harvesting. They are also working on vibration harvesting and thermoelectrical harvesting.

Lithium-ion batteries are expected to dominate the market for at least the next ten years, but the report notes an increasing number of options, including ultra-low power ARM chips and high-voltage, high speed traction motors that need less power in the first place. Energy sources and energy storage integrated into the product’s use that do not require onboard storage are also discussed, such as electric vehicles charged by the surface of the road.

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