Lithium-ion Dominates Stationary Storage—But Competition is Coming

batteryLithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries will continue to dominate the stationary energy storage sector, according to Lux Research.

The dominance is not total, however. Lux found that a new approach, current generation flow battery technology, “has an economic case for certain very large and long-duration applications.”

The press release on the study says that Li-ion has lowered “levelized” cost of storage (LCOS) for the majority of system sizes and durations. However, space requirements are leading to greater costs at higher scales. That is creating an opportunity for flow battery technology, according to research analyst Tim Grejtak, who wrote the report.

The release offered some numbers to buttress the main finding that Li-ion is dominant:

Li-ion beats the most popular vanadium-based flow battery technology on LCOS due to higher round-trip efficiency (83% vs. 65%). Li-ion also dominates the application space from 75 kW to 100 MW, and from 15 minutes of storage to eight hours, with costs above $0.37/kWh.

The study also suggests that new technology, such as Lockheed Martin’s metal complex chemistry that is expected to be available next year, will change the economics of the sector and that diversification is a good approach as prices fall.

Apparently, the thought that li-ion batteries are not optimal for large implementations is not universal. Power Magazine last month showcased a 30 MW, 120 MWh system that was put into service by San Diego Gas & Electric. It is, according to the story, the largest li-ion battery in the world.

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