With the Internet of Things, more and more smart objects are going to find their way into everyday life—small and miniature everyday devices and objects that offer a multitude of new functions thanks to integrated IT functionalities and Internet connection. Printed electronics play a key role here, for example in storing the required power, since conventional batteries and coin cells are often unsuitable due to lack of space. Instead, increasingly sophisticated printed thin-film batteries are used.
For products that are only used once, there is an additional advantage. While coin cells here almost always provide a multiple of the energy that is needed (and must additionally be disposed of), printed batteries are designed to offer the exact capacity for the specific energy requirement.
Printed and ultra-flat supercapacitors are increasingly popular. They are particularly useful when the energy for operating a smart object is obtained from the immediate surroundings of the object, for example from air movement or radio waves.
New dimensions in energy generation are also opening up applications of organic and printed photovoltaics (OPV). In the form of ultra-thin and highly flexible small-format solar cell films, they generate power for mobile devices, for example. In case of large-scale production and when integrated into buildings, for instance in exterior facades, they can make a significant contribution to the emission-free energy generation of the future. Due to their enormous flexibility, they adjust to almost any shape of building and object—and they can even be used as a conscious design element.