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Smart grids to reach $6.1B in storage products in 2018

Posted: 19 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Smart Grid? microgrids? ultrabattery? lead-carbon batteries? lithium-ion?

Research firm NanoMarkets has recently published a report which claims that the grid storage market will reach $6.1 billion by 2018. The report entitled "Batteries and Supercapacitors for the Smart Grid-2013" stated that the energy storage market was one of the fastest growing opportunities in the smart grid industry.

The report says that the default option for grid batteries today is lead-acid, accounting for more than 55 per cent of revenues from grid batteries currently. By 2018, the share will decline to around 30 per cent as new grid battery technologies become commercialized. The lead-acid battery will itself get an upgrade; carbon electrodes, promising a 4x performance improvement. In addition, the ultrabattery, with combination lead/carbon electrodes will compete for grid-storage markets. In 2018, lead-carbon batteries/ultrabatteries will generate around $300 million in revenues.

NanoMarkets says that grid storage for remote locations, microgrids and cell phone towers are already economically viable. This is driving demand for lead-acid and Zebra (sodium-nickel-chloride) batteries. Another wave of storage deployment is about to occur on the customer side of the meter for power-quality, peak-shaving and grid-stability applications creating demand for flow and lithium-ion batteries. During this second wave the penetration of renewables will rise above 20 per cent, making grid storage necessary to stabilise the grid because of intermittent generation. A final wave of grid storage is expected for retail peak shifting applications.

Although lithium-ion batteries are receiving considerable attention, it is immature and high cost and its current growth relies on government subsidies. When subsidies disappear, sodium-sulphur and Zebra batteries will be a better deal for power companies and large end users than lithium-ion. The best hope for lithium batteries is where a supplier who is committed to lithium sells it as part of a comprehensive solution such as for smart buildings. Jonson Controls and SAFT are doing this. Revenues from lithium batteries are expected to reach $775 million by 2018.

Supercapacitors will become integral to grid storage, as costs go down and capacities increase. By 2018, supercaps will generate $1.1 billion in revenues from grid-storage, especially regenerative braking on grid-attached light rail and frequency regulation. Here supercaps can result in a 30% reduction in electrical costs. The long lifetimes and near-zero maintenance for supercapacitors make them attractive for such applications. Supercaps will improve performance with new materials; including nano-structured metal oxides, perovoskites, nanotubes and graphene increasing capacity 5-10 times compared to activated-carbon supercapacitors.

The report provides analysis of worldwide grid-storage markets products including lead-acid, lead-carbon, lithium-ion, sodium-sulphur, sodium-nickel-chloride, and flow batteries, along with ultrabatteries and supercapacitors. Retail, wholesale and microgrid opportunities are covered, along with how frequency regulation, regenerative energy capture and renewable power integration, will impact demand for grid storage. Eight-year revenue and volume projections are included with breakouts by application, storage technology, and geographical region.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times





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