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Posted on April 9, 2024 by  & 

The Emerging Industrial Thermal Energy Storage Market

Battery storage power station accompanied by solar and wind turbine power plants. 3d rendering.
With ~90% of industrial heating processes using fossil fuels, this has led to approximately 25% of global energy pollution coming from heat produced for industrial processes. As such, demand for technologies to decarbonize industrial heating is expected to increase. One such technology that is able to store and supply heat to industrial processes is thermal energy storage (TES). TES for industrial applications currently only forms a minor percentage of global TES capacity, given that TES systems have been widely deployed in applications such as pairing with concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, district heating, cold chain, and space heating for buildings. While there have been reports of reductions in global CO2 emissions from industry in recent years, the magnitude of these annual reductions will need to increase if countries are to meet their wider net-zero targets. Therefore, the proportion of global TES capacity represented by systems used for providing decarbonized industrial heat is expected to ramp up over the next decade. From IDTechEx's new market report "Thermal Energy Storage 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets, and Forecasts", the industrial TES market will be valued at US$4.5B by 2034.
Key drivers for industrial thermal energy storage
While TES systems offer reduced emissions for heat production compared to fossil fuels, recently, higher and volatile natural gas prices in key regions have highlighted an additional benefit TES offers, which is potentially reduced and more stable costs for heat production. Also, governments and states are providing funding to players developing technologies to decarbonize industries, such as through the EU Innovation Project and the US Department of Energy's Heat ShotTM. However, it is not always clear how much funding is being funneled to TES players specifically, as players developing other industrial decarbonization technologies are competing for this funding. Depending on the initiative, TES players are likely to receive portions of funding to help commercialize their technologies and expand manufacturing capacities. These factors related to emission reductions, cost benefits, and provision of government-led funding are expected drivers to promote industrial TES market growth in key regions.
Working principles of thermal energy storage
Thermal energy storage technologies can be classified into different types of system. This could include sensible heat, latent heat, thermochemical energy storage (TCES), and electro-thermal / pumped thermal energy storage (ETES / PTES) technologies. Sensible heat systems see materials such as molten salt, concrete, refractory brick, and crushed rock being commercialized and deployed in industry. Latent heat systems are also being developed, for example using silicon as the thermal storage medium. Such technologies could see heat transfer fluids (HTF) being heated on discharge as they pass through the TES system and then passed through heat exchangers or applied directly to an industrial heating process. Some TES technologies can accept renewable electricity as an energy input, using resistive electrical heating elements to heat up the storage medium. Other technologies may accept excess heat capture, e.g., in the form of steam, as an energy input, and some technologies can accept both forms of energy input.
TCES technologies are in an earlier stage of development, and further optimization of materials, as well as greater awareness and funding of these technologies, is needed to bring them to market. ETES systems focus more on generating power, using a turbine-generator on discharge to convert heat to electricity to achieve this. Several key players are developing these systems for long-duration energy storage (LDES) applications. TES technologies can generally adopt turbine-generators as part of wider system design, but this would come with associated conversion losses from heat to electricity, which would result in a lower round-trip efficiency (RTE) of ~50-60% to provide electricity compared to incumbent Li-ion stationary energy storage technologies which can achieve RTEs of ~95%.
Thermal energy storage working principles. Source: IDTechEx
Given the variety of designs, TES technologies are versatile and, depending on the materials used and types of energy input and output, can be used in a range of industrial applications. IDTechEx's market report appraises the various thermal energy storage technologies being developed and commercialized and analyzes their suitability for a range of applications. This includes suitability for industrial heating processes against requirements for temperature and type of heat (e.g., convective, conductive, radiative, steam, air), such as calcination, drying, process fluid heating, metal and glass melting, as well as power generation, LDES, and more.
Future market outlook
As of January 2024, TES players have accumulated over US$600M in funding to develop their technologies and scale business operations and manufacturing capacities. A few key GWh-scale TES projects are due to come online over the next few years in the US and China (which are not for concentrated solar power applications). As suggested in IDTechEx's market report, while these large-scale systems skew short-term TES regional outlook, most projects being planned to decarbonize industrial heating processes are due for deployment in Europe. Recent spikes in European industrial end-user natural gas prices and their seldom return to pre-2021 prices have created opportunities for TES systems to be more cost-competitive than in other regions. However, players in the US and Australia continue to scale their TES manufacturing capacities, add to their project pipelines, and develop novel materials to withstand higher storage temperatures without compromising materials' mechanical or thermal stability. These developments will see a greater capacity and variety of commercialized TES systems being deployed across industrial sectors to decarbonize heating processes over the next decade.
In their new market report, "Thermal Energy Storage 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets, and Forecasts", IDTechEx brings the reader a holistic overview of the industrial thermal energy storage market, with coverage of wider markets and applications, including the following information:
Market forecasts and analysis
  • Granular 10-year TES market forecasts for industrial and LDES applications by technology (GWh), by region (GWh), by application (GWh), and by value (US$B) for the 2020 - 2034 period.
Regional market drivers and initiatives for thermal energy storage
  • Discussion and analysis on regional market drivers for the growth of thermal energy storage (TES) to provide decarbonized heat to industrial processes and where earlier growth is expected to occur. This includes commentary on regional natural gas prices for industrial end users, and government- or state-level funding, programs, and initiatives focused on decarbonization of industrial process heat.
Thermal energy storage applications
  • Comprehensive analysis and discussion on applications of thermal energy storage in industrial processes such as calcination, metal heat treating and melting, process fluid heating, power generation, among more. This includes analysis of the suitability of identified TES technologies for these processes by process temperature requirements, types of heat (convective, conductive, radiative, air, steam, etc.), and examples of direct electrification efforts of industrial heating processes.
  • Coverage of TES to be used for long-duration energy storage (LDES) applications, including key players and projects, for supporting adiabatic compressed air energy storage (CAES) and liquid air energy storage (LAES) LDES technologies, and for chemical looping processes.
Thermal energy storage market overview and data analysis
  • In-depth market overview and data analysis of TES in the industry, including value chain, strategic partnerships, funding, material suppliers, business models, key player activity, manufacturing developments, and existing and planned projects by ~2027, by capacity (MWh), industry sector, commercial readiness (prototype, pilot, demonstration, commercial scale), region, and player. Raw project data with project details (e.g., project description, customers, funding) is also provided where applicable.
  • Market overview of TES projects paired with grid-scale concentrated solar plants (CSP) is included - raw project data is also provided. Discussion on other TES markets is also included.
Thermal energy storage technologies and key players
  • Comprehensive and extensive coverage and analysis on thermal energy storage technologies and materials, including sensible heat (molten salt, solid-state such as concrete, refractory brick), latent heat (phase change materials), and electro-thermal / pumped thermal energy storage (ETES / PTES) technologies. This includes system metrics (e.g., costs, storage temperatures, round-trip efficiency, lifetime), key player activity, demonstrated projects, and commercial developments.
  • In-depth coverage, discussion, and analysis of thermochemical energy storage technologies (TCES), including types of TCES technologies (sorption and chemical reaction) and systems, identified materials and technologies likely to see further research and development and identified prototype and pilot systems.
  • 14 company profiles.
To find out more about the new IDTechEx report "Thermal Energy Storage 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets, and Forecasts", including downloadable sample pages, please visit
For the full portfolio of batteries and energy storage market research from IDTechEx, please visit
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Upcoming free-to-attend webinar
Thermal Energy Storage to Decarbonize Industrial Heating
Conrad Nichols, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx and author of this article, will be presenting a free-to-attend webinar on the topic on Thursday 9 May 2024 - Thermal Energy Storage to Decarbonize Industrial Heating.
This webinar will cover:
  • Demand and key drivers for industrial thermal energy storage.
  • Thermal energy storage technology overview, including working principles, technology considerations (cost, materials, round-trip efficiency, etc.), ETES, TCES, and commercial readiness of these technologies.
  • Key existing and emerging thermal energy storage applications.
  • Market overview and key projects.
  • IDTechEx's outlook and conclusions.
Please click here to check timings and register for your specific time zone.
If you are unable to make the date, please register anyway to receive the links to the on-demand recording (available for a limited time) and webinar slides as soon as they are available.

Authored By:

Senior Technology Analyst

Posted on: April 9, 2024

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