Starved of lithium-ion batteries and pumped storage sites, the stationary energy storage business is urgently looking for alternatives. See them in the new IDTechEx report, "Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041".
Tesla now sells its Powerwall house battery only to those buying the full solar house and, like its competitors, it has delayed electric vehicle launches also due to battery shortage. Metals shortages are taking over from too few gigafactories as the primary impediment ongoing. Demand for electric vehicles and grid renewables storage is rocketing even before solar houses reach the tipping point and need tens of millions more. In addition, energy-independent smart cities need distributed energy storage for their ocean, wind, and ubiquitous solar power.
Self-leakage makes lithium-ion batteries useless for the new requirement of 6-month storage season-to-season arising from all that cheap solar. Pumped storage cannot do it because it is busy with shorter-term needs. Alternative batteries are gaining traction and IDTechEx has a new report, "Redox Flow Batteries 2021-2031" which clarifies how they are succeeding, but more is needed.
Best non-battery options
The IDTechEx report, "Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041" scopes Gravitational, Compressed Air, Liquified Air, Thermal Energy, Li-ion Capacitor and Supercapacitor stationary energy storage and other options. See them used in uninterruptible power supplies, peak shaving, frequency correction, intermittency compensation, peak power delivery, voltage compensation, and pulse power. Add stationary kinetic energy recovery systems KERS, notably trackside tram and electric train recovery integrated with pulse starting. See the pick-and-mix options for each application. The same is true of distributed energy storage compared to massive grid storage both short-term and seasonal.
Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, advises, "Battery-less stationary storage will surge to a $6.5 billion business in 2031 with much more beyond. Compressing air or lifting weights can win for the developing market for massive seasonal storage of solar power but there are subsets and other options. Electric train systems save 15% of their energy bill if 95% efficient supercapacitors grab train braking energy then surge it into trains leaving. Not batteries."
Das observes that "For electricity supply, see how there is scope for storing hydrogen for fuel cells, using flywheels, new lithium-ion supercapacitors, pseudocapacitors, thermal storage, liquifying or compressing air and so on. These non-battery solutions mostly involve no precious metals, toxins or explosions and the research pipeline of improvement is formidable. Many non-battery options are promised to reach half the levelized cost of storage of lithium-ion batteries. We determine which ones are believable."
Potential stationary energy storage by time and power. Source: IDTechEx report, "Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041"
Billion-dollar companies emerging
The report is commercially oriented, serving all in the value chain by clarifying where the technology and demands are leading, the players, and the gaps in the market. It is researched by IDTechEx analysts worldwide, often at PhD level, and carrying out interviews in local languages. Many new infograms, pictures, diagrams, graphs, and ongoing 2021 news items make it both easily readable and up-to-date. A comprehensive glossary helps with the tortured jargon in this industry creating giant new manufacturers.
Questions answered for grid, microgrid, UPS and trackside rail include:
- What is the full picture of emerging stationary-storage needs 2021-2041?
- What is the complete portfolio of non-battery options 2021-2041?
- What does the research pipeline tell us?
- What is the bad and good of these vs emerging batteries for stationary storage?
- Projected costs vary from low to high. Which, why, what prospective improvement?
- Why is there a place for technologies with a few minutes to effectively infinite storge time?
- What do combinations as "hybrid energy storage systems" achieve?
- What are the many gaps in the emerging market for smart city distributed storage?
- Who will emerge as leading players making billion-dollar new businesses out of all this?
- What companies will make ideal collaborators?
The Executive Summary and Conclusions is sufficient for those with limited time, its many new infograms and tables comparing the options, technologies, achievements and opportunities with many roadmaps and forecasts to 2041 to reveal even the later-arriving challenges and opportunities. See some mainstream battery uses being challenged by later-emerging cleaner, better-performing, safer, more affordable options covered in the report.
The rest consists of the following topics all including many actual examples in action or under trial:
2. Introduction - Understand ongoing battery problems leading to the adoption of alternatives for reasons of safety, performance and cost. See the contestants for more affordable, better performing, safer and more environmental energy storage than batteries can provide. We introduce the electricity grid structure, the service which the grid requires and microgrids and give new storage examples from 2021.
3. Supercapacitors and derivatives - Technology, success, best practice and potential for pure, symmetrical supercapacitors and derivatives lithium-ion capacitors and pseudocapacitors in MW banks 1kWh and above, including multipurpose backup/ peak shaving/ power factor correction etc. Manufacturers compared.
4. Gravitational Energy Storage - Potentially GWh, this includes pumping heavy liquids up hills given the shortage of mountains for water pumped storage. Very useful is also the modern version of the grandfather clock - storage by lifting huge weights, dropping them much later to make electricity. A chart gives energy provided by masses of different size and heights. See the many options and differing capability to reach the market.
5. Compressed Air Energy Storage - CAES Technical features, options, companies and future prospects, which look good.
6. Liquid Air Energy Storage - LAES technology, market and potential, again very promising.
7. Thermal Energy Storage - TES technology, market and potential explaining how this is more speculative and longer term.
8. Company profiles as links to IDTechEx database and detailed tables with critical appraisal.
For more information on this report, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/SESBatteryless, or for the full portfolio of Energy Storage research available from IDTechEx please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research/ES.