Mobile phones, fans, electric blankets, computers, printers, mini-refrigerators, and other electronic devices can be charged and run using portable power devices. The demand for these rechargeable energy sources for consumer and industrial use is growing rapidly. Here’s how quickly this market is expected to expand and what we know about the future of the portable power market.
What Are Portable Power Stations?
A portable power station usually refers to an alternative, backup, or emergency power supply system. Some are so small that they are hand-held, and others are bulkier but still portable enough that one or two people can move the system. In some industrial applications, portable power stations are large enough that they must be relocated with machinery.
Different Types of Portable Power Options
One thing many people don’t realize is that there are several different types of portable power options available. Here are a few examples:
Lithium-ion batteries are considered the most advanced rechargeable batteries. They are low maintenance and long-lasting. Compared to other types of portable power options, these batteries are also much lighter weight than sealed lead acid batteries.
One of the primary benefits of lithium batteries is that they provide more usable energy than other options. For example, a lithium battery can be discharged to 80% of its capacity without impacting its overall lifespan. And these batteries are designed to provide roughly ten or more years of use, even when cycled daily.
Sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries are zero-maintenance, sealed batteries. They come in either gel or absorbent gas mat (AGM) models. The main advantages of using these types of batteries are availability and cost. They are widely available and more affordable than lithium-ion batteries. However, they won’t last as long because they don’t provide as many charge/discharge cycles.
When cycled daily, an SLA battery will generally provide about two years of use. And discharging one of the batteries below 50% of its maximum capacity can reduce the number of discharge cycles it will deliver.
The State of the Portable Power Market
According to a recent “Portable Power Station Market Outlook and Growth Overview” report, the portable power station market was valued at $4 billion in 2021. The industry is projected to be worth $5.9 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 3.9%.
The current demand for portable power stations mainly comes from several different areas:
- As the number of outdoor active people in the world continues to increase, there will be a rising demand for these products to provide connectivity.
- Some countries, like South Africa, China, and parts of the U.S., have experienced connectivity restrictions that necessitate alternative power.
- The frequency of natural disasters, like hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes, continues to increase.
- Various industries, like warehousing and medicine, are enjoying the efficiency and safety aspects of leveraging portable power systems.
Drivers of Portable Power Station Use
There is a rising demand for uninterrupted power supplies to power various electronic devices in both the consumer and business markets. Consumers have become accustomed to having more and more screen time for either work or entertainment purposes. They are also using powered devices to run their homes.
Business customers use portable power devices out of necessity, convenience, or a combination of both. In some industries, like offshore oil platforms or large distribution centers, using portable power systems make work easier, safer, and more efficient. As a convenience, businesses like hospitals, warehouses, and retail stores, are choosing to “unplug” their workstations to make them mobile. This reduces the repetitive actions required by workers and improves overall productivity.
Another major driver of portable power is outdoor use. Consumers began taking to the outdoors more during the rise of COVID-19. They need power for their GPS devices and cell phones. But the occurrence of natural disasters has increased in recent years as well. Emergency response crews require even more robust power to handle their ongoing relief operations.
The Future of the Portable Power Market
Portable power units can produce a significant amount of energy. But the current products have a few drawbacks, such as the need for frequent recharging and the weight of some of the units. However, those considerations are worth it for the convenience, safety, sustainability, and efficiency that portable power options provide to consumers and businesses.
But what about the future of the portable power market? In the coming years, there will likely be more reliability on alternative energy sources such as solar and hydrogen fuel cells. Photovoltaic panels can convert sunlight to energy, which can be stored in batteries for later use. These require little maintenance, are emissions-free, and can provide an unlimited fuel source depending on the availability of sunlight.
Hydrogen fuel cell generators convert electricity through chemical reactions. They are also emissions-free and have a long lifespan. However, these options are currently costly and not widely available.
In addition, the technology used for SLA and lithium battery production will continue to improve. Engineers will create more portable and efficient designs for portable power systems that are safe, lightweight, and even more efficient than the current products.
Portable power generators have become increasingly popular in recent years as a reliable source of primary and backup power for consumers and businesses. They are commonly used for tailgating, traveling, and camping, as well as for generating construction equipment and technology equipment on the job. These solutions provide more sustainable, efficient, and safe options, particularly in business environments.