Exotic and Developmental Energy Storage: Technology and Markets

Published - May 2001| Analyst - Donald Saxman| Code - FCB021A
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. wholesale level market for emerging and developmental energy storage technology is expected be worth more than $126 million in 2001.
  • This market is forecast to grow to $1.2 billion by 2010, representing a 33% average annual growth rate (AAGR).
  • Electronic and capacitive energy storage products will be the largest of the three sectors, and should continue to dominate the marketplace through the 10 year scope of this report, approaching $1 billion in 2010.
  • By comparison, superconducting magnetic energy storage is only expected to reach $157 million in 2010, and annual flywheel sales will total only $59 million.
  • The military and aerospace market currently is the single most important sector for these technologies. By the end of the forecast period, however, the portable product and microelectronic market sectors will dominate.


In the mid-seventies, the “Oil Crisis” sparked calls for a complete reassessment of the way the nation generated, distributed, stored and used energy. Many developmental energy technologies were proposed. Over the past 30 years, some of these technologies have been widely accepted, such as advanced batteries, fuel cells, photovoltaics, etc. Others have been unable to move from the lab or establish enough demand to justify prices. These include synthetic oil, tidal power, etc. In other cases, niche markets have been established, such as wind power, enhanced oil recovery, pumped hydroelectric energy storage, etc. A new energy crisis looms, and is prompting yet another search for energy alternatives — including innovative storage technology.

This timely BCC report examines a group of emerging and developmental energy storage technologies in use today. Yet they largely are untapped resources vying for a share of the multibillion dollar energy storage market. These technologies include flywheel energy storage (FES), capacitive/electronic energy storage (ultracapacitors, supercapacitors and aerocapacitors) and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES).

FES currently is commercialized for uninterruptible power supply systems and power quality conditioners. It potentially can be used to store energy in large and small stationary products, as well as vehicles. Capacitive energy storage products currently are commercialized for portable and stationary products, and, evolved from well-established capacitor technology, these also can potentially be used in large and small stationary products, portable products and vehicles. SMES, currently commercialized for power quality conditioners, takes advantage of a new generation of high-temperature superconducting materials. They can potentially be used in large and small stationary products.

This study characterizes technology, target markets and competing systems and will aid in making informed decisions on which emerging and developmental systems can compete in various markets.


After a comparison with conventional energy storage, the report organizes emerging and developmental energy storage technology as follows:


  • Flywheel energy storage
  • Electronic and capacitive energy storage
  • Superconducting magnetic energy storage


Then, the market is organized into five sub-sectors based on consumer type:


  • Uniterruptible power supplies
  • Ultility load leveling and power quality
  • Automotive and motive power
  • Portable product and microelectronics
  • Military and aerospace




This report is based on a literature review, patent examination, and discussions with commercial and government sources. Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in current dollars, and estimates and predictions in constant year 2000 dollars. Estimated wholesale markets for year 2000 and predicted 2001, 2005, and 2010 market figures are provided. Most market summaries are based on a consensus scenario that assumes no unanticipated technical advances and no unexpected legislation. In some cases, several possible development scenarios are presented. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. When appropriate, information from previously published sources is identified to allow a more detailed examination by clients.


This report's project analyst, Donald Saxman, was a long-time editor of the BCC monthly Battery/EV Technology News and has founded several other BCC newsletters. Saxman has over 18 years' experience in market analysis, technical writing, and newsletter editing. Since 1983, he has operated as a technical market consultant and subcontractor to BCC. Previous experience includes supervision of a quality control laboratory at a major secondary lead refinery, experience as an analytical chemist at a hazardous waste testing service, product assurance manager for a space station life support system project, and an information technology analyst and project manager.

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