SEPTEMBER 2009

Potential abounds for green energy storage industry

Alternative energy storage solutions are now opening up as a significant industry with immense potential. Different technologies in the developmental, near-commercialization and commercialized stages are garnering increasing attention. Catering to specialized applications and end-user markets, these technologies, if understood and utilized appropriately, can be highly beneficial to end users in the long term.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan European Market for Alternative Energy Storage Solutions, identifies alternative energy solutions as the next big thing in the energy market. The following technologies are covered in this research: thermal energy storage, compressed air energy storage, flywheel, fuel cells and ultracapacitors.

“The need for environment-friendly storage technologies rather than conventional batteries is promoting interest in novel energy storage technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan research manager, Malavika Tohani. “Moreover, the demand for storage solutions with a long lifetime is supporting R&D into new technologies.”

The future of the energy market hinges largely on environmental concerns. Heightened apprehensions over the environmental pollution caused by traditional lead-acid batteries have prompted several manufacturers to foray into green energy storage methods. Manufacturers in the alternative energy storage industry are attempting to devise cost-effective solutions that address energy storage concerns in a specialized way.

However, the high cost of alternative energy storage solutions is threatening market prospects. It is likely to hinder large-scale commercialization and result in limited uptake.

“Consumers focusing on short-term benefits rather than long-term returns are discouraged by the high initial investment required by alternative energy storage technologies,” explained Tohani. “The sizeable outlay required for alternative energy storage technologies in comparison to conventional batteries is dampening demand for the former.”

Understanding the most suitable application and identifying the appropriate end-user market for each technology are critical to boosting uptake. Market participants need to focus on R&D in order to reduce costs. To support volume sales, companies also need to educate consumers on the specific and effective uses of alternative energy storage as well as emphasize the advan­tages of various technologies.

“Manufacturers are confident of achieving significant reductions in the prices of alternative energy storage solutions over the next five years,” remarked Tohani. “In addition, enlightening consumers about these technologies will enable manufacturers to tap into unprecedented opportunities for growth and expansion.”