According to the Navigant Research Energy Storage Tracker 3Q14, the 2007 to 2013 period has seen the commercialization of a number of key technologies in energy storage, including several advanced battery chemistries, flywheels, and power-to-gas.
The Energy Storage Tracker is a database of energy storage projects that tracks announcements and deployments of energy storage across a range of technologies in an effort to identify industry trends. The chart below shows the deployed power capacity for six advanced storage technologies in utility-scale applications. There was a peak in installed capacity across most of these technologies in 2011 and 2012 in response to stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The purpose of this funding was to jump-start the energy storage market, and while 2013 was a slow year for most battery technologies, preliminary 2014 data (not shown) indicates improved numbers over 2013 levels. In contrast to advanced batteries, flywheels and power-to-gas saw an uptick in deployed capacity from 2012 to 2013.
Utility-Scale Energy Storage Power Capacity by Technology, World Markets: 2007-2013
(Source: Navigant Research)
Although no single technology is a clear winner in the global stationary energy storage market, lithium ion (Li-ion) has arguably established itself as a key frontrunner going forward. Over the past 13 years, sodium sulfur (NaS) batteries, manufactured solely by Japanese power infrastructure giant NGK, have established themselves as the clear leader in terms of installed power capacity in the stationary energy storage space, with 243.7 MW from 2007 to 2013. However, publicly announced deployments are typically large orders in the tens of MWs, which results in peaks and troughs in NGK’s market activity.
Li-ion sits in second during the same time period, with 231.9 MW aggregated over all its subchemistries. In 2013, Li-ion had the highest number of MW installed and managed to keep output steady with 2012. Of this 231.9 MW, lithium iron phosphate (manufactured by A123 Systems, now NEC Energy Solutions and BYD) accounts for at least 114.8 MW, lithium titanate (manufactured by Altairnano and Toshiba) accounts for at least 10.6 MW, and lithium manganese spinel (manufactured by Samsung SDI and LG Chem) accounts for at least 16 MW.
Peaks and Valleys
Other technologies that have seen significant deployments from 2007 to 2013 include advanced lead-acid batteries (71.4 MW), the vast majority provided by Xtreme Power (now a part of Younicos). More than 58 MW worth of advanced flow batteries were deployed, primarily by ZBB and Premium Power, during the same time period. In addition, 50.9 MW worth of flywheels were deployed, with 45 MW of that capacity coming from Beacon Power (though 4 MW of Beacon’s installations have since been decommissioned). Lastly, 11.1 MW of power-to-gas storage capacity was deployed between 2007 and 2013, primarily by ETOGAS and Hydrogenics.
In the early period of commercialization, it’s not unexpected to see strong years and weak years for technology deployment. Li-ion is maturing and is showing signs of being a fully commercial technology, similar to NaS batteries. Advanced lead-acid, flywheels, and flow batteries will continue to grow, but in some cases will be limited due to the small number of suppliers in the market. Power-to-gas is in the very early stages of commercialization, and it will likely see growth and decline in deployed capacity in the demonstration stages before commercializing, similar to Li-ion.