Energy Storage

Given the large and growing number of energy storage options and the equally large and growing number of energy storage applications, this area is a natural fit for VtM’s custom market research. Pairing energy storage technologies to applications is extremely complex, in part because of the nonlinear relationship between discharge rate, capacity, and cycle life in chemical batteries. VtM has developed a simple but effective model of these interactions that accelerates the process of comparing batteries for particular applications.

VtM Project Examples

Separator for Lithium-Ion Battery

A recently completed strategic sales plan provides a good example of a typical project. The purpose of the sales plan was to identify the most attractive market opportunity for an innovative separator for Lithium-ion batteries. The document identified the single best combination of Lithium ion cell chemistry (LCO/NCM/LFP/LMO, etc.), cell format (cylindrical/prismatic/pouch), cell size (18650/26650/small prismatic/large prismatic, etc.), distribution channel (aftermarket/original equipment manufacturer), cell manufacturer location, and application (electric vehicle/consumer electronics/lawn and garden equipment, etc.) for the client’s technology.

In the process, the sales plan narrowed a broad group of hundreds of Li-ion cell manufacturers down to a prioritized list of 25 companies that represent the client’s best opportunities for near term sales. Additionally, the plan included a technical appendix that identified why that particular segment was chosen, and the resulting marketing messaging that should be most effective when approaching prospects. Taken as a whole, the sales plan identified both the top near-term prospects and the critical factors that will help the company expand its list of prospects moving forward.

Novel Battery

A project is currently underway to evaluate the market opportunity for a unique battery. This battery has potential for a wide range of applications, from large scale grid-tied projects, to automated guided vehicles, to heavy duty industrial applications. These and other markets are being investigated in detail, as are the competing storage technologies, such as FLA, VRLA, NiMH and Li-ion batteries, that serve them.

A simple model developed to evaluate applications for this battery takes into account the complex relationships between discharge rate, cycle life, and available battery capacity. The model has accelerated the assessment of market opportunities for the new battery by enabling a quick comparison between it and other storage options for specific applications.

Structural and Conformal Battery

VtM is helping a large company identify market opportunities for a newly developed manufacturing process that enables Li-ion and other battery chemistries to be incorporated directly into the structure of devices. The technology also reduces the costs of manufacturing conformal (i.e. curved) batteries.

Published Articles and Reports on Energy Storage

Case Studies Evaluating Energy Storage as an Effective Grid Integration Tool: Selected Worldwide Results, Findings, and Lessons Learned

Published by EPRI in December 2014

Author: Jay Holman

Electrical energy storage project activities are proliferating worldwide given increased public and private sector investment in both stand-alone and larger smart grid projects. Moreover, policy initiatives are helping to spur market development. Among the applications generating the most interest and investigative effort are those surrounding solar photovoltaic (PV) integration. With rising PV grid penetration rates, efforts are redoubling to explore the role that energy storage can play in supporting the solar resource’s growth while maintaining the stability and reliability of the electricity network.

To promote information sharing and collective learning, this report documents a handful of active electrical energy storage projects, in various phases of development and evaluation, that are assessing solar PV integration applications. It represents the latest iteration of an ongoing Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) effort, begun in 2010, to catalog commercial and demonstration energy storage projects. Building on four previous EPRI reports, this document provides additional descriptive case studies on five energy storage projects located around the globe, offering insight into their background, status, results and findings, and lessons learned.

Distributed Energy Resource Management System Case Studies

Published by EPRI in November 2014

Author: Jay Holman

As distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage are added to the electric grid in increasing numbers, the need for utilities to track, monitor, and control those resources increases. The systems utilities use to track, monitor, and control DER are broadly referred to as Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems, or DERMS.

Utility adoption of DERMS is still very limited, and utilities around the world are carrying out projects and field trials that will help them make informed decisions about whether, when, and how to deploy DERMS in their own networks. Key areas of focus in these projects include defining the costs and benefits of DERMS deployments, deciding where to host DERMS in order to take full advantage of DER capabilities (including the economic services offered by energy storage systems), and developing control algorithms that optimize DER operations, among others.

This report includes eleven case studies that provide specific examples of how utilities are either using DERMS in their daily operations, or testing DERMS capabilities through projects and field trials. Findings from the case studies are summarized to provide an overview of the current status of DERMS deployments, drivers of future growth in the segment, and trends in recent deployments.

Grid Codes for Interconnection of Inverter-Based Distributed Energy Resources by Country: Recent Trends and Developments

Published by EPRI in November 2014

Author: Jay Holman

This report outlines the latest developments in local, regional, and national grid codes that define interconnection requirements for distributed photovoltaic systems and battery energy storage systems. The term grid codes refers to the set of rules and regulations that utilities, installers, and project developers must follow when connecting inverter-based distributed generation to the grid, and that relate to the electrical behavior of inverters. Specifically, this report focuses on a set of inverter parameters that directly impact grid stability, reliability, and safety, including voltage limits, voltage regulation, frequency limits, frequency regulation, anti-islanding behavior, reactive power settings, real power ramp rates, and remote control of inverters by local utilities.

Brief descriptions of these requirements are provided for 11 countries and the European Union, as are the sources of the requirements, whether they be laws, technical standards, or distribution utility rules. Countries covered include the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, and India. The goal of these descriptions is to provide general insight into the grid codes of various countries where a significant amount of solar photovoltaic has been installed, including summaries of recent developments and potential upcoming changes to interconnection requirements.

Smart Inverter Field Experiences: A State of the Industry Overview

Published by EPRI in December 2013

Author: Jay Holman

The inverters that connect solar photovoltaic, battery, and other distributed resources to the power grid have the potential to provide a number of services or functions that may be useful to utilities. Inverter manufacturers have been designing and implementing these capabilities into their products for many years. During the past few years, significant industry effort has been expended in the identification of a common set of such functions that may be supported by open standards and implemented in many different types, sizes, and brands of inverters.

As these smart inverter capabilities have become available, many utilities have been experimenting with devices in the field in limited or widespread deployments.

This report provides a summary of these activities worldwide. It identifies the specific grid-supportive functions used in each case and investigates the outcome, including benefits observed and any unintended side effects noted.