A recent report from Navigant Research examines the opportunity for direct current (DC) distribution networks in four key markets segments, including off and bad grid telecommunications, data centers, commercial building grids, and off-grid military applications, with global market forecasts for capacity and implementation revenue through 2024.
The market for DC distribution networks encompasses several disparate opportunities, including telecommunications towers, data centers, and grid-tied commercial buildings, all of which revolve around different market assumptions, dynamics, and drivers. The industry is currently focused on medium-voltage DC distribution networks—systems that are mostly concentrated on the data center market segment, but which can also apply to commercial buildings. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, revenue from DC distribution network implementation projects is expected to total $33 billion from 2015 to 2024.
“Debate continues around the advantages and disadvantages of DC for microgrids and nanogrids,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “The majority of progress in developing DC-based technologies has occurred at either the high- or low-voltage level; microgrids and building-scale nanogrids typically operate at medium voltage, meaning much work needs to be done to bridge this voltage innovation gap.”
Mobile devices such as cell phones are one of the biggest drivers for DC, according to the report. There are now over 7 billion active mobile phone connections in the world, and unlike DC, typical alternating current (AC)-based phone chargers waste approximately 20%–35% of the energy used.
The report, Direct Current Distribution Networks, analyzes the global market for DC distribution networks in four key segments: off-grid/bad grid telecom, data centers, commercial building grids, and off-grid military applications. The study provides an analysis of the market issues, including opportunities, drivers, and implementation challenges, associated with DC distribution networks. Global market forecasts for capacity and implementation revenue, broken out by segment, region, and scenario, extend through 2024. The report also examines the key technologies related to DC distribution networks, as well as the competitive landscape.