The electric propulsion systems market is expected to register a CAGR of more than 6% during the forecast period.
- Space-based activities have flourished during the last decade, as evident from the number of satellites launched for both commercial and defense applications, ranging from telecommunication and earth-observation to experimental scientific research. The absence of a combustion supporting atmosphere in space has resulted in the increased adoption of electric propulsion technologies for maneuvering satellites in orbit.
- The inherent benefits of integrating an electric-propulsion system to different platforms are also driving the adoption of electric drivetrains. For instance, an electrical propulsion system provides more flexibility in the installation of machinery, as it is compact, due to the absence of a direct connection between the propeller shaft and the prime mover of a naval ship, the transmission of torsional stresses and associated vibration is restricted. Besides, the emergence of global green emission initiatives has encouraged the adoption of eco-friendly propulsion technologies, such as electric propulsion.
Key Market Trends
The space segment to experience the highest growth during the forecast period
The adoption and diffusion of new technologies, such as satellites, can help disseminate information over broad areas, enable instantaneous telecommunications, generate and transmit high-resolution images of certain points of interest located around the world simultaneously. The advent of miniaturized electronics and the increasing use of smart manufacturing materials have resulted in the development of small satellites with shorter development cycles and lower deployment costs. The physical limitations of such satellites encourage the development and integration of powerful yet compatible electric propulsion systems to effectively perform orbital correction maneuvers. Several contracts are being awarded for the ongoing space missions. Strategic collaborations are underway to capitalize on joint capabilities to address an evolving market opportunity. For instance, in October 2019, Accion was awarded a USD 3.9 million as part of the Moon to Mars technology program. As per the contract, Accion will work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to replace the cold gas propulsion system that was used on the MarCO CubeSats with a more efficient ion electrospray propulsion system. The program is scheduled to initiate in March 2020, and a potential space launch is expected in the first half of 2021. Such developments are anticipated to drive the business prospects of the players in the market during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific is expected to generate the highest demand during the forecast period
Asia-Pacific is expected to generate the highest demand for electric propulsion systems during the forecast period. This increasing demand is mainly due to the rising orders and deliveries of new aircraft, ships, electric vehicles, and deployment of satellites driven by the evolving regional dynamics. Several satellite launches are scheduled during the forecast period. Quantification of chemical emissions into the air is a key step in explaining observed variability and trends in atmospheric composition and in attributing these observed changes to their causes on local to global scales. Since satellite launch vehicles produce different emissions, including water vapor and carbon dioxide from liquid and solid fuels, as well as hydrochloric acid from only solid fuels, initiatives, such as the Mission 2020 encourage the adoption of green propulsion technologies, such as electric propulsion, to restrict the ongoing global climate conversion by minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Congestion and deteriorating urban air quality are long term challenges faced by many Southeast Asian cities. The region is one of the leading adopters of electric vehicles and is a pioneer in developing electric vertical take-off and landing (e-VTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility. Since, electric propulsion technologies have zero tailpipe emission, and can also ensure virtually silent operations and reduce dependence on oil and utilize greener or locally available fuels. In September 2019, the Chinese automobile group Geely announced an investment of around USD 55 million in the Volocopter and signaled its intention to bring UAM operations to China. Also, in January 2020, Hyundai Motor Company and Uber announced plans to collaborate for developing a new eVTOL aircraft to be used for the planned Uber Air air-taxi service. Hyundai’s envisioned all-electric four-seater S-A1 aircraft is projected to offer a range of 60 miles, speeds of up to 180 mph, and a cruising altitude of between 1,000 and 2,000 feet. It would likely feature four sets of rotors for vertical lift and four propellers for cruise flight. In the Asia-Pacific, several modernization programs are underway to enhance the current capabilities of the commercial and military end-users in the region. For instance, as part of its modernization initiative, the South Korean Navy has plans to induct the KDDX destroyer and the LPX-II amphibious assault ship by 2025. In October 2019, GE showcased its power and propulsion capabilities at the MADEX International Marine Industrial Defense Exhibition held in Busan. As part of its diversified portfolio in naval hybrid-electric propulsion systems, the company showcased both the hybrid electric drive (HED) and the integrated full electric propulsion (IFEP) at the event. GE’s HED offering for the KDDX program is envisioned to use the 3.4-megawatt shock tested motor designed for the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate, while its IFEP system would be nearly identical to the one designed for the UK’s Type 45 destroyer. Similar developments are envisioned to enhance the demand for electric propulsion systems across all platforms, thereby driving the growth prospects of the market in focus during the forecast period.
The prominent players in the electric propulsion systems market are Sitael SpA, Busek Co. Inc., The General Electric Company, Thales Alenia Space, and Safran SA. These companies are majorly into designing, manufacturing, and integration of complete electric propulsion systems for all application platforms. The market is highly competitive, with the major players partnering with the manufacturers of satellites, ships, armored vehicles, and aircraft to produce custom requirement-based product designs. High capital expenditure on account of conducting extensive R&D to develop advanced electric propulsion systems and enhance their current capabilities poses a threat to new market entrants. Additionally, the use of 3D printing technology in propulsion drives is anticipated to simultaneously generate demand for new system components and designs to cater to the demand for sophisticated electric propulsion systems with reduced size and mass without compromising on relative performance.
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