Lithium batteries lead in power storage

LiFePO₄, NCM and NCA batteries constitute China's key power storage lineup, while ventures into PbC and NaS have started.

February 06, 2018

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LiFePO₄, NCM and NCA batteries constitute China's key power storage lineup, while ventures into PbC and NaS have started.

The trend for renewable energy has spawned an equivalent need for storage solutions that are making such green power sources viable alternatives to grid supply. In China, this has led to the rapid development of the power storage battery sector in recent years, and effected the transition from traditional lead-acid systems to environmentally acceptable types.

Lithium-based chemistries comprise the mainstream selection now, led by LiFePO₄ and NCM/NCA variants. LiCoO₂, LiMn₂O₄ and Li₄Ti5O12 kinds are the other kinds. Collectively, the lithium category accounts for more than two-thirds of China's total production and will continue to be the front-runner for the application.

Flow batteries are also in local supply. The subcategory closely follows second-placer lead-acid units in this market. It has a small maker base, however, owing to product complexity and greater interest in lithium varieties. Companies turning out such kinds include Rongke Power and Big Power.

At the same time, there are new batteries emerging from the side line, mostly from a few large China makers due to the high technology involved.

One is lead-carbon or PbC types, which combine lead-acid and supercapacitor technologies to deliver higher charging and discharging cycles and a longer operating life than their conventional predecessors. The Shuangdeng Group and Sacred are among the major manufacturers.

Sodium sulfur or NaS batteries are the other. Their power density is three times that of lead-acid kinds, but the types are priced about 80 percent lower than lithium counterparts. NaS units support operations upward from 300 C, making them suitable for power generation applications. A key local maker is Freezing Holding.

Market expansion

Globally, investment in power storage systems will be sustained and is expected to hit $8.2 billion in 2024, nearly six times the total in 2016, according to OFweek.

In China, the application market has been increasing significantly, providing additional impetus to the battery industry. Total installed capacity of renewable power reached 84.4MW in 2014, representing 10 percent of the world's total, according to the Energy Storage Applications Branch of the China Industrial Association of Power Sources. This rose further by more than 30 percent in the past three years, a trend anticipated to carry over to 2018 and 2019.

Capitalizing on this opportunity, a number of battery companies have been funding power storage battery projects.

Shenzhen Clou cooperated with LG Chem to set up a joint venture in 2017. The annual capacity from this surpasses 400MWh.

The Vision Group, one of the world's major suppliers of lead-acid batteries, set aside $126 million for lithium types. It can now churn out up to 600MWh a year, 10 percent of which is for power storage.

Most companies that are already in the line will continue to boost production in the years ahead. CSPOWER Battery Tech Co. Ltd will increase its capacity anew after doubling it in 2017. The line represents 95 percent of its turnout.

There are about 400 manufacturers of power storage batteries in China. More than 80 percent of the companies are locally owned. The major suppliers include BYD, Rongke Power, the Wanxiang Group, Narada, China Aviation and Dongguan ATL.

Over half of the homegrown makers offer lithium types, mainly LiFePO₄ and NCM/NCA, while others offer more than one kind. Narada turns out lead-acid and lithium units, while Rongke Power has lithium and flow variants.

The key production hubs are in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, specifically in the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan in the first and Xiamen in the latter. More than 50 percent of the makers gather in these coastal areas. A number are also in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, and in Wuhan in Hubei province in Central China.

Entrants, attracted by the boom in the line, are expected to congregate in these locations.

Typical power storage solutions

The mainstream range of lithium power storage batteries in China consists of LiFePO₄ and NCM/NCA types with 20 to 200Ah capacity. The products come in 12, 24 and 36V versions and have a life span of up to 3,000 cycles.

In the lead-acid segment, there are gel and semigel kinds that come in models ranging in capacity from 40 to 3,000Ah and with a maximum life span of 600 cycles. These have 2, 6 and 12V variants.

Most materials and components used come from local sources, although some companies turn to foreign providers such as Asahi and Celgard for separators in lithium batteries.

The cost of manufacturing inputs fluctuated in recent months, but the majority of suppliers opted to maintain prices to win more orders. Many in the lead-acid sector, however, raised their quotes by more than 10 percent.

In coming months, outlayfor materials and components and product prices are projected to stabilize.

The products in this gallery have been handpicked by our China-based market analyst for representing current trends in power storage batteries from China makers.

200Ah deep-cycle gel battery

CSPOWER Battery Tech Co. Ltd offers HTL12-200 model, a deep-cycle gel power storage battery with 200Ah capacity, for inverters and solar panels. The 12V unit has CE and UL approval.

The constant charge voltage is 14.4 to 14.9V during cycle use and 13.6 to 13.8V on standby mode, while the initial current is less than 49.5A. Terminal torque is 9.6 to 10.7N.m.

The minimum order is 10 units and the delivery lead time 15 days.

Inquire Now

12Ah Li-ion battery

Model 12V12Ah Li-ion power storage battery from Shenzhen 3YBS Battery Co. Ltd suits UPS, solar power systems and wind power stations. It offers 12Ah capacity.

The 12V unit is 152x99x102mm and weighs 1.25kg.

The maker requires a minimum order of 10 units for delivery within 7 days.

Inquire Now

40Ah lead-acid battery

This 12V lead-acid power storage battery from Shenzhen Key Power Co. Ltd, KG12-40 model, uses 99.99 percent lead plates and AGM separators, and has an ABS housing. Its capacity at a 10-hour discharge rate is 40Ah. At 25 C, the self-discharge rate is less than 3 percent of capacity per month. The RoHS-compliant unit has -20 to 60 C discharge temperature.

The supplier has a 100-unit minimum order requirement for this model. Delivery is within 15 days.

Inquire Now

100Ah deep-cycle lead-acid battery

Zhangzhou Huawei Power Supply Technology Co. Ltd's deep-cycle lead-acid battery for power storage applications, OTD100 model, provides 100Ah capacity at a 10-hour discharge rate. Its rated voltage is 12V.

Dimensions are 333x173x216mm, with thickness at 222mm. Weight is 30.9kg. The product has T3 terminals.

The minimum order is 100 units and the delivery lead time 30 days.

Inquire Now

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