The global thermal energy storage market is highly concentrated, with the top four players accounting for over 73% of the market in 2013. The remainder of the market is in the hands of small and medium regional players, Transparency Market Research (TMR) finds in a new study. Key players in the market are CALMAC, Evapco, Inc., Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), and Gross Engineering, Inc. The significant market potential is attracting new players.
However, the creation of a brand for new players is moderately difficult to achieve in the market. Additionally, high capital investments required for providing services and manufacturing storage systems are also acting as hurdles for new entrants.
The availability of low-cost high energy density batteries is expected to pose a threat to the market. “Government initiatives and decline in the raw material prices are expected to increase the threat of substitutes in the coming years,” predicts a TMR analyst. Thus, the threat of substitutes is expected to be medium in the coming years. However, substantial product differentiation is expected to empower suppliers, increasing their profit margins.
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Need for New Distribution Systems Boosts Demand for Thermal Energy Storage
The increasing adoption of variable energy sources (VES) is one of the main growth drivers in the global thermal energy storage market. Thermal energy storage technology is also acting as an alternative or supplement for energy transmission and distribution. With the growing population, the demand for transmission and distribution infrastructure is also increasing. As the demand for energy grows, new distribution systems are required, thus driving the global thermal energy storage market.
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Electric distribution utilities spend billions to upgrade their existing transmission and distribution lines every year. This trend is rapidly changing with the awareness that deploying thermal energy storage near the load can negate the need to invest in upgrading or building new transmission and distribution lines. This will further the demand for thermal energy storage technology.
Inclusion of Several Technologies Increases Cost of Thermal Energy Storage
The cost of thermal energy storage technology is high, which will deter the adoption rates. This is due to the inclusion of a number of different technologies, each of which have their own performance, application, and costs.
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The cost of thermal energy storage systems needs to be competitive with other non-storage options available to electric utilities. Apart from the high capital investment, the presence of several barriers for grid interconnection is also restraining the thermal energy storage market.
Players to Make Most of Advancements in Technology to Overcome Cost Barriers and Accelerate Deployment of Systems
The continuous R&D in energy storage technologies is expected to lower the high capital requirement to make this technology. The reduction in cost and advancements in technology are expected to make phase change materials (PCMs) and latent heat storage, emerging technologies in the market. Latent heat storage technologies are anticipated to have a huge potential for deployment in emerging economies. R&D initiatives in PCMs and thermochemical energy storage technologies are expected to boost their deployment, especially in Southeast Asia.
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Moreover, the policy support for thermal energy storage technologies is particularly high in buildings and industrial applications. This will further accelerate the growth of the deployment of these technologies in the coming years.
According to the report, the global market opportunity in thermal energy storage is expected to rise from US$830.8 mn in 2015 to US$1,818.8 mn by 2020. By technology, the global thermal energy storage market is expected to be led by the sensible heat segment. The segment is expected to account for 60.2% of the market by 2020. By end use, the commercial and industrial segment is expected to lead and account for 47.5% of the global thermal energy storage market by 2020. By geography, Europe is expected to lead in the market by 2020, followed by North America.
This information is based on the findings of a report published by Transparency Market Research titled “Thermal Energy Storage Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2014 – 2020.”