Unlike banking accounts, where one saves money and use it afterwards whenever required; electricity is an asset which needs to be consumed as exactly when it is being generated. When compare to energy generation, energy storage is quite complicated process. Most of the times we refer how the energy could be saved when it is economically dispatched, so as to utilize it in order to serve the consumers with a robust and cost-effective manner. However, with the advancements in technology and increasing demand of electricity it will give rise to dramatic change of load characteristics all over the world. Future trend will be the application of using batteries to provide bulk power to the load with a new set of regulations emerging to support the energy needs.
When dealing in the field of exotic, high energy batteries; sodium-sulfur batteries need to be understood. Alkali metals such as lithium, sodium and potassium which are highly reactive in nature; are used as anodes in these batteries to achieve the highest theoretical energy and power densities. Sodium-sulfur batteries are commonly known as NaS batteries. Sodium-sulfur reactants have an operating temperature of 300ºC with a potential energy density output of more than 400 Wh/kg or 200 Wh/lb.
Their charge/discharge efficiency is in the range of 86–92%. Compare this to about 30 Wh/kg for a lead-acid battery. High operating temperature along with the highly corrosive nature of the sodium metal allows this battery technology to be used in stationary applications such as grid energy storage. Sodium sulfur batteries are made up of many cells. Each cell is typically made in a tall, cylindrical configuration. The entire cell is enclosed by a steel casing usually protected by chromium and molybdenum from internal corrosion. This outside casing serves as the positive electrode, while the liquid sodium serves as the negative electrode.
The container is sealed at the top with an airtight alumina lid. An essential part of the cell is the presence of a beta-alumina solid electrolyte (BASE) membrane, which selectively conducts sodium cations. With increasing size, the cell becomes much more economical. In commercial applications, the cells are arranged in blocks for better conservation of heat and are encased in a vacuum-insulated box. Pure sodium presents a hazard because it spontaneously burns or explodes in contact with water, so the system must be protected from moisture. In modern NaS cells, sealing techniques are quite sophisticated which make fires unlikely, although there have been cell leaks.
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Since 1983, NGK Insulators Ltd. (NGK)/ Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have become the primary drivers behind the development of the sodium sulfur batteries because all of its components–sodium, sulfur and ceramics are abundantly found in Japan. In late 1990s, first large-scale prototype field testing took place using 3 x 2 MW, 6.6 kV battery banks. Based on this testing, improved battery modules were made commercially available in 2000.
The threat of moisture is quite important for sodium sulfur batteries, giving rise to regular battery servicing as well as individual cell inspection to ensure long term operation. Battery servicing include the crucial work of replacement of the cells showing any sign of leakage. Periodic maintenance, inspection and sealing costs, regulations on distributed energy storage (DES) and installation in inaccessible places are probable factors restraining the growth of the global sodium sulfur batteries market. The global sodium sulfur batteries market is broadly classified on the basis of applications and geographies. Based on application, the global sodium sulfur batteries market is segmented into: Ancillary Services, Load Levelling, Renewable Energy Stabilization .Sodium sulfur batteries are trending in US. In the coming years, Asia Pacific region will see the highest growth for utility-scale applications
though growth will be strong in North America and Europe. More than 20MW of sodium sulfur batteries have been installed in North America. With rapid urbanization and increasing pressure on conservation of energy, the acceptance of sodium sulfur batteries is gaining popularity. The global sodium sulfur batteries market is expected to expand at a promising CAGR during the forecast period (2015-2025). The global sodium sulfur batteries market is expected to register an optimistic CAGR for the forecast period. Depending on geographic regions, global sodium sulfur batteries market is segmented into seven key regions: North America, South America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Middle East & Africa. As of 2015, North America dominated the global sodium sulfur batteries market in terms of market revenue followed by Europe.
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Asia Pacific & Japan are projected to expand at a substantial growth and will contribute to the global sodium sulfur batteries market value exhibiting a robust CAGR during the forecast period, 2015?2025.Some of the key market participants in global sodium sulfur batteries market are NGK Insulators Ltd, KEMET Electronics Corporation, Eagle Picher Technologies LLC, GE Energy, Ceramatec Inc, FIAMM Group, POSCO, Sieyuan Electric Co. Ltd.