Smart Grid Battery: Lithium-ion Battery

Battery, green energy, CO2, Footprint, Green World, Smart Grid, Climate Change, Renewables, lithium

A lot of research has been done trying to improve the performance by new Li-ion anode-cathode combinations that are increasing 2.5 times the energy density

The energy storage market is blossoming. Because we need renewable energy storage to supply our smart electrical grids at daily moments the demand for energy is high.

So let’s see this Lithium-Ion Battery.

This Lithium-ion Battery technology is populair because of the:

  • high energy density (high voltage combined with high specific capacity)
  • high discharge rate
  • high security and low cost

A lot of research has been done trying to improve the performance by new Li-ion anode-cathode combinations that are increasing 2.5 times the energy density (150 Wh / kg or 650 Wh / l) of non-lithium technologies.

Applications in cars are possible but require further improvements in terms of cost, safety and energy density.

A typical lithium-ion battery as the Panasonic NCR18650A in Tesla cars uses a LiNiCoAlO_2 cathode and graphite anode (Scheidegger, 2010).


Lithium batteries should regularly be recharged because high batteries lead to oxidation of the anode and low batteries leads to the disintegration of LiNiCoAlO_2. This makes lithium batteries very sensitive. Research has been showing that with two 50% depth of discharge (DOD) cycles, the battery lifetime is about four times longer than one 100% DOD cycle.

Lithium batteries with so-called pulse charging are able to keep their capacity better. (Popov et al.) (Gomadam, Weidner & White).


Prices of Lithium batteries are decline for years now. A 2009 study lithium price estimated in 2015 at $ 600 / kWh with upper $ 800 / kWh and lower $ 350 / kWh.

Nowadays, the estimated price is $ 500 / kWh. We may conclude that price developments will remain below the average estimate. By 2020 a price of $ 400 / kWh is expected (Anderson, 2009).

Lithium-ion polymer battery

A variant of the lithium-ion battery is the lithium-ion polymer battery. Instead of a lithium-salt electrolyte (such as LiPF6) used in an organic solver, the Lipo battery uses a solid polymer electrolyte.

With this polymer, the battery does have a flexible sheath. The weight of this battery is lower and the LiPo battery can be made with different shapes. LiPo batteries have a slightly higher energy density but are often 10-30% more expensive than their counterpart Li-ion batteries. (Battery University, 2015).

lithium-ion polymer battery is developed with a brand new cathode and anode structure, pioneered by the University of Illinois researchers.

In essence, a standard li-ion battery normally has a solid, two-dimensional anode made of graphite and a cathode made of a lithium salt.

The new Illinois battery has a porous, three-dimensional anode and cathode.

To create this new electrode structure, the researchers build up a structure of polystyrene (Styrofoam) on a glass substrate, electrodeposit nickel onto the polystyrene, and then electrodeposit nickel-tin onto the anode and manganese dioxide onto the cathode.

Battery, green energy, CO2, Footprint, Green World, Smart Grid, Climate Change, Renewables, lithium

LFP is known for its inherent stability and reversibility.

Lithium iron phosphate battery

The LiFePO4 cathode battery is also known as the lithium iron phosphate (or lithium ferrophosphate, LFP). This battery has been developed providing:

  • a longer life
  • higher power density
  • higher security
  • at a lower energy density

In addition, an LFP battery has a more flat voltage over the duration of a cycle. That’s why the voltage regulation can be strongly simplified.

The LFP chemistry readily accepts and releases lithium ions with little or no change in its structure. Hence, the cycle life a LFP battery is generally four to five times that of a traditional lithium cell, thanks to the inherent stability of the LFP cathode and lower charge voltage that slows degradation rate of the anode and electrolyte.

Lithium-Air Battery

Battery, green energy, CO2, Footprint, Green World, Smart Grid, Climate Change, Renewables, lithium

This design achieves energy densities many times higher than existing technologies

One of the most promising technologies is lithium-air that distinguishes itself from Li-ion because of its construction and chemical reaction.

In a lithium-air battery, the cathode is porous (often carbon) material.

With this porous material the battery can extract oxygen from the air.

This design achieves energy densities many times higher than existing technologies. That’s why the lithium-air battery is a very promising research direction.

Unfortunately, the current li-air research did not yet led to convincing results that would make Li-air usable. The road to adulthood is long and practical applications are not to be expected in the near future.

Electrodes are typically made of graphite, but alloys made of tin or silicon with lithium provide a higher energy density. A Li_4.4 Si electrode offers higher (theoretical) specific capacity but it is also an unstable by material stress caused by volume changes during charge cycles. Improvements are possible by using carbon composites but this research is still in progress.

Case studies

Battery, green energy, CO2, Footprint, Green World, Smart Grid, Climate Change, Renewables. lithium, Molten Salt, Redox Flow, Liquid Air storage, FlyWheel, UltraCapacitors

The storage drive in Wemag (Germany) is built next to a 110 kV substation and is directly connected to the grid.

1. Wemag, Germany

In Germany WEMAG AG, Samsung SDI and Younicos started in September 2014, a 5MW and 5MWh lithium ion storage center.

The center is the first commercial battery storage station and is used primarily for frequency regulation and also for black start capabilities and VAR support.

It is consisting 1600 lithium manganese oxide batteries with 16 cells per battery, coupled with the medium voltage network with five transformers. The project has received a € 1.3 million grant from the innovation of the German Ministry of Environment.

Battery, green energy, CO2, Footprint, Green World, Smart Grid, Climate Change, Renewables. lithium

In Leighton Buzzard (UK), is gone have EU’s largest Lithium Energy Storage Test Center.

2. Leighton, UK

Younicos cooperates and S & C Electric and Samsung SDI want to create Europe’s largest lithium energy storage test center.

The trial will last for 2 years.


The 6MW / 10MWh storage project is placed at the Leighton Buzzard (United Kingdom) substation and is used for:

  • frequency regulation
  • load shifting
  • providing reactive power and voltage support

This location was chosen because up there the wiring is to the thermal limit at peak load (UK Power Networks, 2014). The project has received £ 13.2 million grant from the Low Carbon Network Fund market regulator Ofgem and has cost £ 18.7 million in total.

Overview Lithium Companies and StartUps


Alevo popped out of a long stealth mode in 2014 and is bringing the “first inorganic lithium battery” to the commercial market. Here is the news of battery startup Alevo that has received $1 billion in private funding (November, 2014) and has just unstealthed after about a decade of development in Germany, with an announcement that it was going straight to production and opening up a factory in North Carolina at the location of a former cigarette plant.

The company has created what it calls GridBanks, which are shipping containers full of thousands of battery cells. Each container can deliver 2 MW of power, enough to power up to 1,300 homes for an hour.

The batteries use lithium iron phosphate and graphite as active materials and an inorganic electrolyte, that extends longevity and reduces the risk of burning. They can be charged and discharged over 40,000 times, the company said.

Alive seems to be one of the most promising-looking companies at this moment. It is targeted at the grid storage market.


Amprius develops highcapacity lithium-ion batteries that originated at Stanford University.

“Amprius advanced technologies address consumer demand for high energy, long life batteries,” said Andrew Yan, Founding Managing Partner of SAIF Partners. “We are delighted to invest in Amprius and accelerate the company’s international growth. SAIF Partners supports Amprius’ short-term focus on consumer electronics and shares the company’s medium- and long-term interest in electric transportation.”

Aquion Energy

With a handful of battery storage options now on the table, Aquion Energy’s aqueous hybrid ion battery technology boasts a long cycle life at 100% depth of discharge for long duration (4 to 20 hour) applications. Want to know more about the hybrid ion battery technology? Click here for the white paper.


It may not be Bosch’s signature product, but the technology giant is offering energy storage and related (hybrid and Lithium-ion batteries) technology and service solutions, particularly in connection with solar and wind power installations.

Bosch Power Storage Solution opens up new opportunities for renewable integration and grid stabilization, especially in Europe. The solutions are designed for utilities, renewable operators or industrial customers seeking a flawless integration of renewables in the power grid.

Watch the video


A lithium-ion battery company aiming to produce batteries at a large scale for super-affordable electric cars in China, Boston-Power is reportedly in the process of scaling up its battery production capacity to the gigawatt scale. Facts & Figures


A top producer of batteries used in mobile technologies, BYD has moved into the grid storage market as well, and it produces several electric vehicles (cars and buses) that now utilize the batteries. One of their batteries is the environmentally friendly Iron-Phosphate Energy Storage with a Capacity of 2MW/4MWh, a Voltage Level of 0.5KV and a System Efficiency of 91%

CODA Energy

Transformed from an electric car company, CODA Energy now produces grid storage battery systems, and it has been landing a number of deals in its home state of California in the past couple of years.

Focused on lithium-iron phosphate batteries, one of CODA’s attractive non-technical features is a no-money-down financing option that jumps off of the success of numerous American solar companies.


Electrovaya produces lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles as well as grid storage.

One strong selling point of Electrovayais its non-toxic manufacturing process.

Adding Electrovaya’s green Lithium Ion battery to a diesel genset can reduce Diesel consumption of up to 35-50% significantly reducing the operating costs in Mining as well as reducing carbon footprint. It is estimated there are about 200 million diesel generators in the world.

General Electric

One of the largest corporations in the world is in the energy storage business as well. GE’s Durathon Battery is used for both stationary purposes and electric vehicles, including electric buses. The Durathon Battery consists of both sodium batteries and lithium-ion batteries.

Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls, long a leader in the car battery space, offers various lithium-ion battery solutions for EVs as well as lead-acid batteries. It was identified as one of three ‘leaders’ in the EV battery market by Navigant Research in 2013.

LG Chem

LG Chem is another giant that is a player in this energy storage market. LG Chem offers battery systems for stationary storage, but it is most notable as a leader in the EV battery space, if not the leader. It produces lithium-ion polymer batteries.

Pellion Technologies

Pellion Technologies is reportedly developing next-generation Magnesium batteries that will leave lithium-ion batteries in the dust. Spun out of MIT research, the company states that it has discovered a series of fundamental breakthroughs in materials, chemistry, and cell design. It is targeting mobile technologies, but could potentially become a big player in other storage fields, especially electric vehicle storage. Potentially!

RES Americas

RES Americas is one of the only companies here that develops renewable energy projects. Knowing how useful battery storage can be for those, RES Americas also offers stationary energy storage solutions.

The company states:

We currently have energy storage plants in regional transmission organizations — ERCOT, PJM, and IESO — that are either completed or under construction, and have multiple projects in late development.

It uses various energy storage technologies, not just batteries. When it comes to batteries, it states that it uses “lithium battery chemistries.”


Saft, manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, has signed a contract from Airbus Defence and Space Ltd (UK) to develop, qualify and test a specific lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery system to power the ExoMars Rover vehicle.

The ExoMars Rover battery system is based on Saft’s MP 176065 IntegrationTM xtd cells. A key advantage of these Li-ion cells is their compact, lightweight design that minimizes the overall battery mass, so that more of the mission payload can be utilized for scientific instrumentation. Furthermore, the cells have been developed to deliver high performance in demanding operating conditions, even when subject to extreme fluctuations in temperature from -40 ˚C to +85 ˚C.


Sakti3 uses new materials and manufacturing techniques to achieve higher energy density. The company’s battery does away with the flammable liquid electrolyte used in conventional lithium-ion batteries, which makes it feasible to use a different set of high-energy storage materials.

They announced today that they have signed a joint development agreement with Dyson, which makes vacuum cleaners and other appliances, to incorporate its batteries into new products. The companies didn’t say when those products will be available, but one could be a cordless vacuum cleaner. Dyson also announced a $15 million investment in the startup

It aims to get the price of its battery cells down to $100/kWh, and target both mobile applications and electric vehicles (starting with the former). The startup spun out of the University of Michigan. Investors include Khosla Ventures, General Motors Ventures, Beringea, and Itochu Technology Ventures.

In a statement, Dyson founder and chief engineer James Dyson said, “Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance which current battery technology simply can’t.”


Seeo is working on solid-state battery technology. Though, it already has some products on the market.

It states that it “has developed a new generation of rechargeable lithium batteries based on a proprietary, nanostructured non-flammable polymer electrolyte called DryLyte™.”

It is targeting use in electric vehicles, for grid storage, and as telecom backup.


Siemens, known much more for its big presence in several other industries — wind power, rail of all sorts, and a million other things — Siemens is also in the energy storage business. It is focused on the grid storage market, and states that it “combines cutting-edge power electronics for grid applications and high-performance Li-ion batteries.”


Spider9 offers lithium-ion energy storage systems featuring patented cell-level optimization to increase system safety, life, and usable capacity for up to 40% lifetime cost savings.

Spider9 gained momentum through the end of 2014 with announcements of the certification to UL standards of its first commercial product, an agreement to sublicense its core technology to Samsung for non-stationary applications, and its selection to participate in the Hawaii-based Energy Excellerator program.


Last summer, Tesla introduced two Lithium batteries: the PowerWall (households) and the PowerPack (businesses). The daily cycle 7 kWh battery uses nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry and can be cycled 5000 times.

The 10 kWh battery uses a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode,like the Tesla Model S, is for weekly or emergency use and has a cycle life of 1000–1500 cycles. It includes a DC to DC converter to sit between a home’s existing solar panels, and the home’s existing DC to AC inverter.


Younicos combines lithium-ion batteries with sodium-sulfur batteries and vanadium redox flow batteries in order to create something akin to a super-battery.

But its biggest competitive advantage is reportedly the software that optimizes these batteries for the best performance and greatly extended lifespan in grid storage applications.

Overview latest energy storage systems

Promising systems

Have you seen this?

Pros & Cons of (renewable) energy sources (dossier)

Smart Grid Energy Storage Systems (dossier)

Smart Grid Projects and Case Studies (dossier)

Trending Renewable Energy Technologies and Initiatives (dossier)

BetterWorldSolutions helps you finding qualified leads and sales partners, world wide

Sign Up

or mail to

One Response to Smart Grid Battery: Lithium-ion Battery

  1. Pingback: TenneT rekentool geeft inzicht in rentabiliteit grootschalige opslag - Kennisplatform Energiesystemen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.