Getting the World Charged 

On 20th March 1800, an Italian physicist and chemist named Alessandro Volta invented the electric battery, which was able to produce a steady flow of electric current. 

With the invention of the electric battery, Volta proved to the world that electricity could be generated chemically. The then prevalent theory that electricity could be generated solely by living beings was wrong.

This pioneering invention, which sprouted from Volta’s disagreement with another Italian physicist and Volta’s contemporary Luigi Galvani(he propounded the theory of animal electricity, which was later proved to be wrong by Volta), comprised two electrodes, one made of zinc, the other of copper. Volta’s battery was known as Voltaic Pile.

Volta introduced the then-revolutionary theory that electrical current is generated by the contact of dissimilar metals amidst moisture. He built a stack of alternating copper and zinc discs, with each pair of discs being demarcated from the next by cardboard soaked in brine. This voltaic pile produced a continuous flow of electrical current, which eventually electrified the then-scientific community in Europe with inquisitiveness and interest within a short period of time.

Inspiring Electrolysis 

Just six weeks after Volta’s invention was made known to the public, William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle utilised a voltaic pile to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, thereby uncovering the phenomenon of electrolysis. Electrolysis is defined as the chemical process of breaking down ionic compounds into their constituent elements by passing a direct electric current through the compound while it is in a fluid or liquid state. Presently, electrolysis finds extensive commercial application in extracting or purifying elements from naturally existing sources.

The invention made by Volta in the first year of the nineteenth century proved to be path-breaking. It shaped several aspects of technology over more than two centuries. It showed that electric current could be produced on demand, which in turn contributed to never-before-seen industrial growth. 

Legacy and Honour 

In 1801, Volta demonstrated the battery’s generation of electric current before Emperor Napoleon of France. Napoleon was very impressed by Volta’s significant invention. Volta was granted the titles of count and senator of the kingdom of Lombardy. In 1815, Austrian Emperor Francis I appointed him as the Director of the Philosophical Faculty at the University of Padua. Volt, a unit of electric locomotive force, was named after his honor.

From Volta’s voltaic pile to Michael Faraday’s dynamo (invented in 1831), which led to rechargeable batteries, to commercially used lithium-ion batteries, which led to the revolution in consumer electronics, we have come a long way riding on the battery revolution. 

Battery Market 

Today, batteries are omnipresent, from smartphones to cars. In fact, we cannot imagine our postmodern life without their contribution.

Batteries are also expected to be crucial in India’s moving towards an energy economy. According to a market research report by Grand View Research, an India & US-based market research and consulting company, registered in the state of California and headquartered in San Francisco, the global battery market size was valued at 104.31 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent from 2023 to 2030. The report observed that the high use of UPS devices in healthcare, chemical, and oil & gas sectors for continuous power supply was expected to propel the growth of the battery market. 

The above-mentioned market research report also revealed that lithium-ion batteries were expected to penetrate lead acid battery applications, including electric vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles, storage, and automobiles, thus gaining a majority market share by 2024. “High demand for portable electronics including smartphones, LCDs, tablets, and wearable devices, such as fitness bands, propels the battery market growth,” observed the market research report while predicting that the e-mobility sector will drive a substantial surge in demand for batteries alone. 

According to the report, the automobile sector led the global battery market with a market share of 32.37 percent in 2022. 

According to the market research report, increasing awareness of the advantages of battery-operated vehicles in regions like Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America is expected to fuel the growth of lithium-ion batteries in the automotive sector during the forecast period

The report also highlighted that in 2022, industrial batteries held the dominant market share of 35.85 percent in the application segment. This was attributed to the increasing need for effective power backup and energy storage solutions across various industries, including power generation, chemical manufacturing, marine and recreational equipment, and agricultural machinery and equipment. Using small-sized lithium-ion batteries in portable devices and other consumer electronics is expected to enhance market growth during the forecast period.

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