A Look at Li-Ion and Alternative Battery Chemistry Innovation
20191018 Dr Alex Holland
From consumer electronics to electric vehicles and stationary storage, high power and fast charge capability are key performance metrics for Li-ion batteries. Pure battery electric vehicles can now offer range in excess of 300 miles per charge, but a full recharge can take hours. How can this be improved?
Silicon anodes and carbon allotropes can play a critical role in providing fast charge capability. Volume expansion and irreversible capacity loss are issues that delay the uptake of silicon anodes. Cost feasibility and production at scale will be needed for the use of graphene or carbon nanotube (CNT) additives, though there is evidence this is beginning to happen - LG Chem are expanding the production of CNTs and allocating a portion for use in Li-ion electrodes. Beyond materials and devices, fast-charging electric vehicles will have consequences for local power grids and charging infrastructure. Vehicle-to-grid and stationary energy storage are being developed as solutions to ensure the continued stability of electrical power grids. The IDTechEx Show brings together players across the value chain, from material developers to system integrators. Learn the latest developments in silicon anodes and high-power energy storage as well as the latest in charging infrastructure at the IDTechEx Show! in Santa Clara, November 20-21.
Stationary storage is a growing market where Li-ion will not necessarily reign supreme. Rather than energy density, cost, safety and lifetime are critical. For these requirements, various technologies are being developed, including redox flow batteries and Na-ion batteries. Primus Power, ESS Inc and Natron Energy will be presenting on their solutions for stationary storage.
To date, battery energy storage has been used to provide short term power and energy, e.g. frequency regulation, uninterruptible power supply or peak shaving. Services are provided over minutes to hours. However, as the penetration of variable renewable power sources increase, so will the need for multi-hour bulk energy storage for continuously matching the supply and demand of electricity. Flow batteries offer greater safety, longer lifetimes and potential cost savings over Li-ion. Several vanadium flow battery projects are ongoing in China and $30M of funding awarded to Iron Flow Battery company ESS Inc demonstrates the interest in alternatives to Li-ion. However, the scale of Li-ion manufacturing and vast sums of money being poured into R&D will continue to drive Li-ion costs down and performance up. October 2019 saw the New York State Public Commission approve the construction of a 316 MW, 2.5 GWh Li-ion battery. In other words, 8 hours of storage. Li-ion batteries were not supposed to be economical for these time durations. Hear from energy storage developers Engie Storage and NEC Energy Solutions for the latest trends in residential and grid-scale energy storage at Energy Storage Innovations USA. Part of the IDTechEx Show! the conference runs from November 20-21 and explores the latest trends and developments in energy storage, from printable, flexible batteries to stationary storage.