Energy Storage Industry Has Work To Do

Energy storage systems are considered a crucial component of the future energy system, enabling the widespread adoption of everything from renewable energy, smart grid technologies and backup power, to electric vehicles (EVs) and portable devices. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the development of electric energy storage technologies is currently being driven by factors such as grid stability and reliability, the need to integrate intermittent renewable energy generators, and the push to limit greenhouse gas emissions and use energy resources more efficiently.

Frost & Sullivan says its new research, “Electricity Storage Technologies: Market Penetration and Roadmapping,” provides a detailed analysis of electric energy storage technologies and industry trends, based on interviews with market participants. The company says it expects advanced lithium ion batteries, already commonplace in EVs and hybrid vehicles, to dominate this sector for the next five to seven years. As more advanced batteries are developed and more intermittent renewable energy generators are brought online, they can also be employed in grid balancing. Other technologies, including flywheels and compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems could also play a role, Frost & Sullivan says, but these technologies need to be further developed.

image via energyNow!

Overall, further research and development is needed in order for the industry to overcome the high initial costs of energy storage technologies. These efforts should focus on increasing the power density and durability of batteries, reducing the time required to recharge them, and ramping up production to reduce cost.

“Currently, the only available and economically viable storage system is pumped hydro, whose use is significantly limited because of the need for proximity to large water reservoirs,” Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst Tomasz Kaminski said in a statement. “Ultimately, understanding and addressing the different challenges faced in different applications is key. This will allow acceleration of the development of electric energy storage systems.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).