Lithium-Ion Now The Dominant Chemistry In Grid Energy Storage

2 years ago by Mark Kane 15

Toshiba Delivers Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems to Remote Islands to Ensure Stable Power Supply

Toshiba Delivers Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems
to Remote Islands to Ensure Stable Power Supply

Tesla's stationary energy storage (credit to Greentech Media)

Tesla’s stationary energy storage (credit to Greentech Media)

The market of grid energy storage systems is expanding rapidly and is now transforming from molten salt batteries (typically sodium-sulfur NaS) to lithium-ion batteries.

According to Lux Research, as of January 2015, there was 1,100 MW and 2,523 MWh of grid storage installed over 605 projects worldwide. Most of them were built in Japan (1,174 MWh) and US.

In 2014 alone, 450 MW and 730 MWh were added.

90% (or 419 MW and 1,555 MWh) of the systems proposed last year were with lithium-ion batteires.

At such high values of MW/MWh of new proposed installations, NaS soon will lose its high market share of 23% of all deployed MW and 64% of deployed MWh.

Storage System Using 16 Old Nissan LEAF Batteries

Storage System Using 16 Old Nissan LEAF Batteries

From several lithium-ion battery types LFP and NMC are most popular:

“LFP, NMC are the leading Li-ion cathodes. Within the Li-ion battery chemistries, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) is the largest cathode deployed by MW and MWh, with market shares of 39% and 38.1%, respectively, followed by nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), which is rapidly becoming the cathode of choice among developers.”

ESS are used mostly for demand management (376 MW and 1,335 MWh across 236 projects) and renewable connect systems (513 MW and 890 MWh across 261 projects).

Source: Green Car Congress

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15 responses to "Lithium-Ion Now The Dominant Chemistry In Grid Energy Storage"

  1. David Murray says:

    If space and weight were not a requirement, I would think that grid storage would be much cheaper by using large tanks of compressed air.

    1. Pedro says:

      Air compression requires a lot of energy wasted in inefficiency. That’s why BEV cars are way more efficient than air compressed cars.

      Big public water reservoirs should have a hydro generator so that every water that leaves produces some energy in it’s way down.

      We can use big water elevated tanks to store water and energy.

      1. CP says:

        Big public water reservoirs should have a hydro generator so that every water that leaves produces some energy in it’s way down.

        Wouldn’t this wind up requiring pumps to maintain water pressure?

        1. Lensman says:

          No. Large water reservoirs are fed by rivers and streams, not by pumps.

          1. CP says:

            When the water leaves the reservoir and goes into the municipal distribution system, wouldn’t running it through a turbine necessarily reduce water pressure and require pumping rather than gravity?

  2. wavelet says:

    I forget the numbers, but IIRC, there’s a significant efficiency loss in compression (recall how hot even small pumps get within seconds? I once saw someone getting a low-grade burn from an electric pump inflating a motorcycle tire.)
    What is done instead AFAIK is use the energy to pump water into an uphill reservoir.

    1. Ambulator says:

      It’s also a pain to get the energy out. Icing can become a real problem. Mostly they heat the compressed air with natural gas to avoid this.

  3. Ambulator says:

    I do wonder why NaS can’t compete. Is it just that the scale of lithium ion battery production is so much greater?

    1. CP says:

      What does “NaS” mean?

      1. Ambulator says:

        Sodium sulfur. Mark Kane used and defined it in the article.

  4. CP says:

    I am following grid-scale batteries as closely as I can. I find the coverage tremendously frustrating, because it doesn’t give numbers that can be used to calculate storage cost per megawatt. Without those numbers, it’s impossible to evaluate the practicality of these batteries.

    I’m somewhat skeptical of lithium-ion, especially at grid scale, on grounds of cost and energy density. I could EASILY change my mind if there were cost numbers I could trust, which would (of course) incorporate battery life.

    Beyond that, I’ve been closely following the grid scale molten metal battery being developed at M.I.T. It’s said to be cheap, but (frustratingly) we don’t know how cheap. The prototypes will be hideously expensive, or so I assume, but there are manufacturing volume economy curves that are routinely and successfully applied to new products to estimate eventual costs in maturity.

    I am familiar with M.I.T. from a previous career, and have a very high respect for that institution. If they say that a cheap battery is on the way, I tend strongly to believe them. Therefore, I think it’s time to contemplate an explosion of terrestrial wind turbines, which themselves are among the cheapest ways to generate power. (See p. 6 at link below.)

    One “cost” of wind turbines will be scenic despoilation. I don’t think the “environmentalists” care one bit about it, myself. Most of them live in big cities, and will be happy to ruin remote landscapes. I want to be very wrong about that, but I don’t think I will be.

    1. CP says:

      p.s.: My inner copy editor cleared his throat and told me to tell you that “Dominate” is incorrect in your headline, and that “Dominant” would be the right word. Or you could keep “Dominate” if you removed the “The” before it.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Who the flip is supposed to be editing final content around here? Who…me? Sigh

        /fixed, thanks for the heads up

        1. CP says:

          Thanks for the fix, and even more for not taking it as an attack. I have a lot of respect for your publication, which seems a lot more fact-oriented and less promotional than a bunch of other EV sites and pages. Keep up the great work!

  5. Lensman says:

    It is shocking to me that the best inventors and engineers have been able to develop for large-scale electrical energy storage is banks of li-ion batteries. As I’m sure all EV enthusiasts know, the per-kWh cost of storage is pretty high for that tech.

    I had hopes for Isentropic Ltd’s proposed system for large-scale pumped heat energy storage, but it seems they’re stuck in “development hell” and, so far as I know, have yet to publicly demonstrate their tech despite investment of millions in R&D.

    Pumped hydro is quite efficient at large-scale energy storage, but its cost-effectiveness is only due to the fact that it’s a secondary use of water reservoirs built for other purposes: Flood control and to ensure a steady supply of drinking water.

    Pedro said:

    “We can use big water elevated tanks to store water and energy.”

    I once advocated building those for home energy storage. Then I did the math. To provide a reasonable amount of overnight storage capacity for a single average suburban home (that is, storing power from solar energy during the daytime to use at night) would require two tanks (upper and lower) both about ten times the size of the average backyard swimming pool! This isn’t a practical solution, which is really too bad because pumped hydro is (so far as I know) more energy-efficient than any other method of storing energy long-term, except batteries. And aside from the cost (and sizable space requirement) of building such huge tanks, it’s pretty cheap, too. It just requires some plumbing and electrically powered water turbines; the maintenance on those is pretty low-cost.