Technavio Announces Top Three Emerging Trends Impacting the Global Flywheel Energy Storage Market for 2016-2020
Technavio’s latest report on the global flywheel energy storage market provides an analysis on the key emerging trends expected to impact the flywheel energy storage market through 2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
Energy storage technology is used to store surplus electricity that can be utilized during power shortages, blackouts, and peak hours of demand. A flywheel energy storage system is a mechanical battery that stores kinetic energy in the form of a rotating mass. Flywheel energy storage systems have a longer life, are more reliable, require less maintenance, and have increased efficiency when compared to other energy storage systems.
Technavio expects the flywheel energy storage market to grow at a CAGR of almost 20% during the forecast period. The two major factors impacting the growth of the market are intensive industrial development and growing populations. Both these factors have significantly increased the global demand for power. In developing nations, the demand-supply gap of energy frequently leads to power shortages, leading to greater demand for power backups. Flywheels offer a way to improve the quality of generated power. They are capable of providing energy on short notice and can be operated at low costs.
Rachana Nair, a lead analyst for energy storage at Technavio says “Flywheel systems are used as temporary backup sources during power disruptions. Flywheels directly compete with other conventional alternatives for uninterrupted power supply (UPS), such as batteries and diesel generators, but they offer longer lifespans.”
The top three emerging trends of the global flywheel energy storage market according to Technavio’s analysts are:
Growing use of renewable sources
Fossil fuel is the most extensively used power source worldwide. However, combustion of fossil fuels releases a large amount of GHGs, causing global warming and extreme weather conditions.
Several developed and developing countries are working on sustainable and clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels. “The increasing focus and intermittent nature of renewable sources increases the demand for energy storage such as flywheels. Flywheels are highly reliable, safe, and energy efficient” says Rachana.
The power output from solar photovoltaic (PV) depends on the strength of sunrays, which vary according to the time of the day and the amount of cloud cover. Managing this variability can be overcome by the use of flywheel technology, which can stabilize frequency and voltage based on requirement.
Increase in R&D in flywheel energy storage
Intensive R&D is taking place in the flywheel energy storage industry. In 2014, the Australian Energy Storage Council in collaboration with Ecoult and Californian Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) conducted research on the emergence of storage technologies.
Many countries in collaboration with various flywheel system manufacturers and universities are also conducting intensive research to enhance the applications of flywheels. For instance, in 2012 the UK government in collaboration with Ricardo, GKN, Torotrak, and certain universities, invested in research related to the use of flywheel energy storage technology in hybrid vehicles. This collaboration resulted in the Flysafe project, which studied the failure mechanisms and behavior of high-speed flywheels.
Use of flywheel technology in HEVs
HEVs usually use a chemical battery as a source of assistant power. The use of flywheel is more suitable compared to chemical batteries such as nickel metal hydride battery or lead acid battery because flywheels offer a long lifespan, high energy storage density, easy maintenance, no emissions, and less charging time.
Flywheels are also suitable for improving power quality by stabilizing the fluctuations during power generation. They can rapidly charge and discharge. The need to control grid frequency will increase with growing penetration of intermittent renewable energies.