The thermal energy market was valued at over USD 3 billion in 2018 and is expected to witness significant gains at an approximate CAGR of 10% during the forecast period, 2019–2026.
The energy saved and stored in thermal energy storage systems can be utilized later, a characteristic that is likely to result in the exponential growth of this market in the coming years. These devices are highly efficient and simple to use as a mode of energy transfer. They temporarily hold energy in a cold or hot form for use at a later stage. Thermal energy storage systems aid in reducing carbon emission and energy consumption and maintaining energy demand during peak hours. The economic effects of these systems are solely dependent on the type of material used in the manufacture of these devices. Thermal energy storage devices find a wide range of applications in thermal power plants, solar plants, combined power and heat plants, and process industries.
The growth of the energy sector is expected to be driven by the rising adoption of sustainable energy sources and an uptick in the demand for continuous energy supply. Montreal Protocol and the Paris Treaty are some of the measures which are considered as a conscious effort taken by authorities around the world to restrict the ill-effects of global warming. These trends are likely to be some of the primary factors responsible for the growth of the global thermal energy market during the forecast period. Increasing usage of renewable energy sources, combined with an increase in the need for concentrating solar power (CSP), is likely to trigger the market growth.
On the flip side, additional costs related to the use and installation of thermal energy storage systems, lack of awareness about storage technology, and the need for highly-skilled labor required for maintaining and installing these systems are likely to restrict the growth of this market to a certain extent. Thermal energy storage (TES), when paired with concentrated solar power (CSP), provides grid stability and is usually used in combination with both conventional fuels and TES. Government initiatives and support for promoting the use of energy-efficient devices are likely to remain an essential aspect of the growth of this market.
Based on storage material, the market is further segmented into the water, molten salt, and PCM. The molten salt-based thermal energy storage segment is expected to witness considerable growth, due to the ability of these devices to store a large amount of energy and deliver dispatchable and stable power. Volumetric heat capacity and high boiling point, in combination with low vapor pressure, are among the important parameters that are likely to hike the systems’ adoption rate.
Based on technology, the market is segmented as sensible heat, thermochemical, and latent heat. The sensible heat segment is likely to hold the highest market share, owing to an increase in the demand for solar systems combined with the application of this technology across cooling and heating systems. Sensible heat technology is used to perform discharging operations for innumerable cycles. Completely reversible charging – the key feature of this technology – will propel its adoption rate. The latent heat technology segment is anticipated to witness an exponential growth rate, owing to the technology’s high storage density.
Based on the application, the market is segmented into district heating and cooling, process heating and cooling, and power generation. Power generation is likely to dominate this market, owing to the increasing demand for constant and uninterrupted power supply from remote rural areas. Furthermore, rapid urbanization is expected to upsurge the need for renewable power generation, which is further expected to cement the dominance of this segment.
Based on end-use, the market is divided into residential and commercial, industrial, and utility. The residential and commercial end-user segment is likely to have a dominant market share with the highest growth rate. Rapid growth in the urban population is expected to result in exponential growth in construction activities, which is expected to stimulate the growth of this market. For instance, the share of urban population to the global community was over 55% of the total population in the year 2018, World Bank. There have been considerable refurbishment and replacement activities across residential and commercial establishments, which will positively affect the demand for thermal energy storage devices. Additionally, there has been a substantial rise in investments, which will aid in modernizing power generation and electric infrastructure to enhance the development of grid systems, which is likely to observe exponential growth in this sector shortly.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies have great potential to meet the national goals of affordable, secure, and clean energy for economies situated in the Middle East & Africa. The countries lying in the MENA belt (the Middle East and North Africa) are likely to propel the market to a considerable extent. MENA is considered to have some of the best solar resources in the world. These solar resources are likely to last longer than its oil and gas wells, and resources have the potential to generate a considerable amount of energy while mitigating environmental damages due to greenhouse gas emissions. Significant developments have been taking place in this region in terms of CSP which could lead to an increase in demand for thermal energy storage devices. For instance, the 500 MW Noor CSP complex in Morocco is by far the most advanced and the most significant investment in MENA. Furthermore, the region has a presence of economies such as Nigeria, South Africa among other nations, which is likely to be among the most prominent consumer base for this market.
Asia-Pacific is likely to grow at the highest rate owing to the initiatives undertaken by governments in the region. Furthermore, increasing energy usage, coupled with a growing population, is also one of the driving factors leading to the growth of this market. Traditional energy sources such as oil and gas have been rapidly exhausting, and economies such as India, China, Thailand, and Malaysia are always in need of energy to propel their manufacturing and trading activities. For instance, the Thailand electricity-generating sector is considered to be among the most secure businesses in the economy owing to the long-term purchase agreements with three state utilities Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). Furthermore, the country witnessed solar installations of around 3GW, which is a significant milestone and is likely to contribute to the growth potential of Asia Pacific.
North America, owing to its various energy conservation and renewable energy generation program, is likely to have a notable market share during the forecast period 2019–2026. For instance, in September 2018, the Canadian Government had updated its ‘Commercial Energy Conservation Program,’ which is a financial incentive plan through which tax rebates of approximately USD 15,000 are granted for energy upgrades in the industrial and commercial sectors.
Europe is another region that is prominently taking proactive measures for setting up a framework to aid in using eco-friendly energy generation means. For instance, in September 2015, the European Commission had laid out Strategic Energy Technology (SET), which aims at accelerating the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies.
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