In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that the advanced lead-acid battery (LAB) market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8% over the next 8 years. Of the projected US$18-billion market in 2020, 58% of the sales will be from the transportation sector, historically one of the most of important industries for lead-acid batteries.
New applications will constitute the rest of the market volume, according to the report, “Advanced Lead-Acid Batteries”, driven by the expanding market potential of the global grid storage market. By 2020, Pike Research forecasts that advanced lead-acid batteries will capture roughly 25% of the global battery-based grid storage market, a small subset of the broader energy storage market. The market value for advanced lead-acid batteries in grid storage will be approximately $6.8 billion in 2020, according to Pike.
Lead-acid batteries, developed more than a century and one-half ago, have a long history of use in a large number of applications, including starter, lighting and ignition (SLI) in automobiles. However, notes Pike, new requirements in both mobile and stationary applications—ranging from electrified vehicles to energy storage on the power grid—are demanding more dynamic energy storage services. This in turn necessitates better technical performance characteristics (energy density, power density, charge acceptance) and lower lifecycle costs (improved battery cycle life). Conventional lead-acid batteries cannot provide the level of performance demanded by these emerging applications and complementary technologies, Pike notes.
The application segments covered in the report are:
- Motive: hybrid locomotives, electric-powered forklifts
- Transportation: stop-start vehicles (SSVs)
- Stationary: utility-scale energy storage, community & residential energy storage (CRES), uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
Enhanced flooded batteries (EFBs) and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries represent the bulk of existing advanced lead-acid market share, Pike says, while fast charging lead-acid batteries represent the future of the market. Fast-charging LABs include batteries with carbon additives and split electrode batteries such as the UltraBattery—a hybrid lead-acid battery and ultracapacitor. (Earlier post.)
Advanced lead-acid batteries represent a technology that bridges the gap between legacy forms of battery storage and the future market. The industry remains enthralled with the technical features of lithium ion batteries, and many stakeholders await the cost decreases that will enable mass market adoption; these are not likely to arrive until the latter part of this decade. As a result, advanced lead-acid batteries are well-positioned to capture early market share in motive, transportation, and stationary applications; transportation will be the most important market for advanced lead-acid batteries in the next several years.
This outlook—of near-term growth and sustained sales—represents good things for advanced lead-acid battery vendors, and these companies are well-positioned to provide these technologies. However, as the target applications for advanced lead-acid batteries evolve, as they inevitably are and will continue to, the competition from other advanced batteries will only increase. The technical features of advanced lead-acid batteries will need to be continuously revised and may ultimately prove insufficient for the most advanced energy storage applications if the technical features cannot be improved. These dynamics depend heavily on the future costs of advanced batteries of all chemistries.—“Advanced Lead-Acid Batteries”