Bharat Book Bureau

The $2.5 billion global high temperature energy storage (HTS) market of 2020 is going to be dominated by the sale and construction of molten salt storage systems for concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. The HTS market is composed of three categories: sodium-sulfur (NaS) batteries, sodium-metal halide (NaMx) batteries, and molten salt thermal energy storage (TES) systems. While NaS has been the strongest category ever since the first commercial systems were sold in 2003, it is molten salt TES systems that became the largest HTS category in 2010.

After four years of strong growth, the NaS battery market showed an unprecedented negative value for 2010. Despite this bizarre showing, the NaS HTS category has the potential for huge growth in the short and medium term because companies such as RUBENIUS in Mexico and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are building hundreds of megawatts of energy storage systems designed around NaS batteries. However, lack of investment by governments and institutions into fundamental NaS battery research means the battery chemistry will be overtaken by lithium-ion in its primary sales channel of utility scale energy storage, resulting in a market decline after 2017.

Although it has been NaMx’s traditional market, sales of the battery for small electric vehicles (EVs) will virtually disappear by 2015. However, NaMx will continue to be a major battery type for electric and hybrid electric buses and small trucks. More noteworthy is the fact that the battery chemistry’s recent push into the stationary storage market, particularly for remote telecommunications equipment, is going to show exceptionally strong growth in the medium and long term. From less than 10% of the category’s sales in 2010, the stationary segment will be responsible for over half of the NaMx market by 2019. However, for NaMx batteries to effectively compete in the long term against lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, more research into NaMx cell geometry and electrode chemistry that can operate at lower temperatures is going to be crucial to expanding overall sales of NaMx batteries by 2020.

Sales growth of molten salt TES systems (or really any thermal energy storage technology) is completely dependant on the growth of the global CSP market. Fortunately for this category, the legislation and regulation landscape for both renewable energy sources and grid energy storage is very favorable. By 2013 the U.S. will supplant Spain as the largest market for thermal energy storage and by 2015 more molten salt TES, by MWh, will be installed in the U.S. than in Spain. Both countries will continue to be strong growth regions through to 2020 due to continued CSP plant construction. However, other countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia will also begin to contribute significantly to the molten salt TES market by 2020.

The World Market for High Temperature Energy Storage by SBI Energy provides key insight into current and future markets for high temperature batteries and thermal storage worldwide, focusing on key countries for each market segment. The analysis includes definitions, current product offerings and market detail on the following segments:

* Sodium-sulfur (NaS) batteries – Typically used for grid load leveling applications.
* Sodium-metal halide (NaMx) batteries – Used for electric vehicles and stationary storage applications. Often referred to as ZEBRA batteries.
* Molten salt thermal energy storage (TES) – Used for CSP installations.

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