One of the biggest factors fuelling the surge in the demand for thermal (heat) energy storage is the rapid urbanization across the world and the resultant rise in the demand for electricity, which is contributing toward the growing deployment of various advanced energy generating utilities, including concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. According to China’s National Energy Administration, the installation of nearly 111 CSP projects has been initiated in the country, with a gross capacity of around 9 Gigawatts (GW). Amongst these, the first batch of CSP plants has recently been made operational.
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Thus, the global thermal energy storage market is expected to see an increase in its value from $3,000.9 million in 2017 to $7,472.9 million by 2023, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.9% during the forecast period (2018–2023). The rise in the consumption of power for district cooling and heating purposes is another major factor boosting the demand for thermal energy storage. Power utilities, owing to the limited number of independent heating and cooling systems for commercial and residential buildings, are rapidly establishing energy storage systems, in order to meet the escalating energy demand, thereby fuelling the adoption of thermal energy storage.
There are various ways in which heat energy is stored, such as CSP, ice thermal energy storage, pumped heat electrical storage (PHES), and chilled water thermal energy storage. Out of these, CSP accounted for the largest installed capacity for storing heat energy, in 2017. This is attributed to the massive increase in the deployment of advanced CSP systems over the last few years, especially in countries such as the U.A.E., Australia, and Morocco.
The integration of thermal energy storage systems is primarily observed in the following sectors: power generation, combined heating and cooling, research and development, and micro-grids. Amongst these, the combined heating and cooling sector, on account of the increasing adoption of district heating and cooling purposes, recorded the highest demand for thermal energy storage equipment during 2013–2017. Within the combined heating and cooling sector, residential and commercial buildings registered the highest usage of heat energy storage systems in 2017. This is mainly ascribed to the high requirement for these solutions for temperature regulation in commercial and residential buildings, due to rising urbanization and industrialization rates.
The biggest rage being witnessed in the thermal energy storage market is for environment-friendly buildings or green buildings, as they are popularly known. This is mainly due to the fact these buildings use eco-friendly materials in their construction, which results in the generation of an extremely low carbon footprint. These green buildings are also widely adopting energy storage technologies for power generation. Furthermore, such infrastructure copes with power outages much better than conventional buildings, owing to their design and construction, thereby reducing the burden on power plants.
Geographically, the highest installation of heat energy storage systems was witnessed in North America in the past. This is attributed to the large-scale establishment of CSP plants in the U.S. and soaring demand for power backup in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The demand for thermal energy storage equipment is predicted to rise the fastest in Asia-Pacific (APAC), primarily due to the increasing population and usage of renewable energy and the resultant rise in the need for energy storage.
Therefore, the adoption of the thermal energy storage technology, owing to the rising need for electricity in residential and commercial buildings and soaring use of renewable energy, is forecast to increase massively in the coming years.