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Adrian Wilson

Editor's Viewpoint

8th February 2018, UK

Energy storage: The new frontier

The potential of the energy storage market and the big opportunity for composites to play a major role within it is currently underestimated. Conbility, the consulting spin-off from RWTH Aachen University believes that in Germany alone, this market will grow from a value of around €4 billion at present, to over €13 billion by 2025.

With this in mind, Conbility, AZL Aachen and RWTH Aachen University have launched an international market and technology study which drew 19 companies to its first meeting at the end of January.

Conbility opening meeting. © Conbility

Over the next eight months, a team of experts will analyse established and emerging energy storage systems, specifically in respect of the materials employed and the technologies for the production of key components, including thermal, electrochemical, mechanical and electrical options.

 “We see a booming energy storage systems market for the next few years – and that includes not only storage systems in electric vehicles, but also consumer electronics and stationary storage systems,” said Peter Adriaansen, business director at participating company Imerys Graphite and Carbon. “From our point of view, this growth is currently underestimated by the market and we encourage companies in the supply chain to make the necessary investments to develop technologies, install raw material capacities and form alliances to support this growth.

Lithium-ion

“Imerys is taking a leading position by investing heavily in the energy storage market, especially for lithium-ion batteries, and we are seeing an increase in our company’s turnover coming from this market as we strategically invest in it. We believe that working together with strong partners is the key to market expansion and the AZL study is designed to help us identify and connect with the right partners.”

 “Composites will score highly in both stationary and mobile storage systems due to their durability, chemical resistance and lightweight potential,” added Thomas Wegman, marketing manager at resins manufacturer Aliancys. “We see many applications and parts where we can use our resin systems and want to learn more about the market and where we can develop new applications for composites. Tackling this in the study together with other companies and their specific interests and insights is a good opportunity for us.”

Conbility market forecast. © Conbility

The first meeting of the new study consortium provided an overview of market segments and examined technologies and the applications of lithium-ion batteries in the automotive sector, as well as power-to-gas technologies.

Applications in the field of energy supply, the operation of power grids and stationary decentralized and mobile applications are being identified and the different system configurations, materials and components analysed to identify opportunities. In the final phase of the study, supply chains, including providers of systems, materials and technologies, and business models will be established.

“It is important for us to gain knowledge about which technologies will be relevant for the production of energy storage systems,” said Dr Reiner Karl, of Mahr Metering Systems. “This is the only way we can develop the right equipment and offer it to the market. The market is growing but we see the future not only in lithium-ion technologies and that is why the insight into other technologies is of great interest to us.”

Companies wishing to evaluate the potential of their products and production technologies, as well as increasing their know-how in the field of energy storage systems, are encouraged to participate in the study.

Full information can be found here

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