A submarine is a vessel capable of independent underwater operations. Submarines have the ability to dive and surface in water. Submarine is regarded as the most high-tech vessel in the world. Navy submarines have the capability to launch ballistic missiles, perform rescue operations, and also serve as the base of nuclear weapons. Navy submarines are equipped with in-house facilities and adaptability. This allows the naval military to live for months or even years underwater. Diesel-electric submarines made their first significant impact during the World War I. Several submarines were used as secret weapons in World War I and World War II.
Electric power is required to operate equipment and other in-house systems in submarines. For underwater and surface propulsion, submarines are equipped either with diesel engines, which run on fuel (diesel), or utilize nuclear reactors that use nuclear fission for propulsion. Several submarines are also equipped with battery banks for the supply of electrical power. During emergency situations, a fully charged battery is the only source of submarine propulsion. On surface, these submarines utilize diesel engine for propulsion, and thus charge the main storage battery. Once the batteries are completely charged, the submarine can head underwater and perform underwater operations. Thus, a submarine equipped with a charged battery is the only way a diesel submarine can actually submerge underwater.
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Rise in demand for renewable energy, energy efficient systems, marine hybrid propulsion systems, and implementation of strict regulations related to marine emissions are expected to drive the submarine battery market. However, constraints related to battery technology as more efficient and long-lasting batteries integrated with a diesel submarine can help to stay underwater for a long period. Furthermore, ongoing technological advancement related to the development of efficient and long-lasting batteries can be a boon to several marine operations. The biggest threat to submarine batteries is nuclear power, as nuclear powered submarines can stay underwater for a long time, i.e. weeks/months. Furthermore, nuclear fuel lasts much longer than diesel fuel. a nuclear submarine does not have to come to a port to refuel.
Based on propulsion type, the submarine battery market can be segmented into hybrid and non-hybrid. In terms of submarine type, the market can be divided into U-boat, personal submarine, midget submarine, deep sea submergence vehicle (DSV), deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV), human torpedoes, merchant submarine, and navy submarine. In terms of battery type, the market can be segregated into lead-acid battery, lithium-ion, and others. Submarine batteries are sold under different brand names. For example, Exide Technologies sells submarine batteries under various brand names such as CEAC, Hagen, and Sonnak.
Europe is expected to be a key region of the submarine batteries market in the near future due to the major shift toward renewable energy in the region. In December 2017, Russia announced its new navy plan, which consists of expansion of submarines, frigates, and cruise missiles. In February 2017, the European Union agreed to the proposal of investing significantly in increasing energy security by strengthening its cross-border energy infrastructure. Installation of batteries in existing submarines running on diesel or electric propulsion can play a vital role in such projects. This presents immense opportunities for the submarine battery market. Asia Pacific is also anticipated to be a prominent region of the market due to the rise in usage of renewable energy in the region.
North America is also likely to be one of the major regions of the submarine battery market owing to the rise in number of renewable energy projects and offshore oil and gas projects in the region. The U.S. is regarded as the country with the most powerful naval system in the world. Currently, no other navy has the global reach of the U.S. Navy, which regularly operates in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and the Horn of Africa. Furthermore, the U.S. Government plans to deploy new submarines and update the existing submarines with the latest technology.
Prominent manufacturers and suppliers of submarine batteries include EnerSys, Exide Technologies, HBL Power Systems Ltd., Sunlight Systems, and HBL Power Systems Limited.