Global Compressed Air Energy Storage Market: Overview

Rise in population and developmental activities across the globe has led to increase in global energy demand. The demand for energy may increase by 37% of the current demand by the year 2040, according to World Energy outlook 2014. However, an imbalance will be created in demand supply ratio due to the slow growth in energy generation sector. Therefore innovation in present energy equipment is essential to create balance in the demand-supply ratio for energy. In accordance with this, the energy storage concept has gained importance to safeguard the energy for future use. Energy storage equipment can be classified by the type of technique used as mechanical, chemical, electrochemical, and thermal storage.

As electricity is crucial for development in current era, the storage of energy for power generation has gained importance. The most preferred type of energy storage technique can be stated as battery storage, hydro power storage and compressed air storage. Compressed air energy storage (CAES) can be defined as the technique to store energy through compresses air. Although the technique was implemented first in 1970’s, the compressed air energy storage market has gained importance recently as a direct effect of boost in power generation demand.                                                

Compressed air energy storage are made to store energy in the off-peak period that will be used later when the demand is high. This demand and supply imbalance is apparent by the low demand of power during night and increase in demand during day time. The compressed air energy storage systems use underground cavern. The compression creates heat that is considered as a waste product. On later stage the condensed air need heat for expansion that is supplied mostly through natural gas. This type of compressed air energy storage is the currently used and is known as diabatic storage. This technique shows an efficiency of about 60%-70% and is being replaced by new innovated techniques.

The major players in compressed air energy storage market are trying to differentiate their product through innovations.  Technological innovations are being applied to overcome major drawbacks of diabatic technique, specifically need of huge underground space for storage and use of fuel for decompression of air. The next generation of compressed air energy storage can be seen in the form of adiabatic compressed air energy storage, above ground storage equipment and underwater storage. The adiabatic compressed air energy storage use the heat created during compression for expansion on a later stage. The adiabatic technique reduces the cost of using external fuel for heat generation and increase efficiency by minimizing wastage of energy. Similarly the methods of underwater storage can help in bringing consistency in power supply for coastal region as the source would be nearby.

Global Compressed Air Energy Storage Market: Drivers and Restraints

The increase in demand of energy has been a significant driver in growth of compressed air energy storage market. The renewable energy harvesters are also looking forward for efficient storage equipment to support their energy supply in future. Solar energy is abundantly available in summer season than in winter when the demand increases. In such cases compressed air energy storage can play major part to acting as an efficient supplier. The world’s two first compressed air energy storage projects,  the 290-MW plant in Huntorf, Germany, and the 110MW McIntosh, Alabama plant have displayed the effective use of compressed air energy storage. This has lead in emergence of many new projects worldwide, the USA being the pioneer in investing in compressed air energy storage. compressed air energy storage are also used for wind energy storage, grid asset optimization, transmission and distribution deferral, and ancillary services.

The policies and schemes of authorities around the globe have facilitated the demand of energy storage equipment. Californian government have implemented the legislation, AB 2514 in 2013 stating the projection of expanding their electricity storage capacity and procuring 1,325 MW of electricity and thermal storage by 2020. Similar schemes have been launched in Germany and many other region worldwide. The compressed air energy storage market is projected to grow three times the existing capacity. The regions such as Russia, China and India are also becoming attractive market for compressed air energy storage market due to the increase in demand in energy in these areas.

Global Compressed Air Energy Storage Market: Key Players

Some of the important companies in compressed air energy storage market are Dresser-Rand APEX CAES, SustainX, Inc, LightSail Energy, General Compression, Hydrostor, Bright Energy Storage Technologies, Gaelectric Holdings and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

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Compressed Air Energy Storage Market

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