Technology trends

Key Battery Storage Technology Trends 2022-2030: Sungrow Q&A

Photovoltaic inverter manufacturer Sungrow’s energy storage division has been involved in battery energy storage system (BESS) solutions since 2006. It shipped 3 GWh of energy storage globally in 2021.

Its energy storage business has grown into a turnkey and integrated BESS provider, including Sungrow’s in-house energy conversion system (PCS) technology.

The company was ranked among the top 10 global BESS systems integrators in IHS Markit’s annual space survey for 2021.

Aiming at everything from residential to large-scale space – with a major focus on solar power plus utility-scale storage – we ask Andy Lycett, Sungrow’s Country Manager for the UK and Ireland, his take on the trends that could shape the industry in the years to come.

What do you think are some of the key technology trends that will shape the deployment of energy storage in 2022?

heat management battery cells is vitally important to the performance and longevity of any ESS system. Except for the number of duty cycles and the age of the batteries, it has the biggest impact on performance.

Battery life is greatly affected by thermal management. The better the thermal management, the longer the life and the resulting usable capacity. There are two main approaches to cooling technology: air cooling and liquid cooling. Sungrow believes that liquid-cooled battery energy storage will begin to dominate the market in 2022.

This is because liquid cooling allows cells to have a more uniform temperature throughout the system while using less input power, stopping overheating, maintaining safety, minimizing degradation, and enabling higher performance.

the Power Conversion System (PCS) is the key piece of equipment that connects the battery to the grid, converting stored direct current energy into transferable alternating current energy.

Its ability to provide different network services in addition to this function will affect deployment. Due to the rapid development of renewable energy, grid operators are exploring the potential ability of BESS to support power system stability and deploying a variety of grid services.

For example, [in the UK]dynamic containment (DC) was launched in 2020 and its success paved the way for dynamic regulation (DR)/dynamic moderation (DM) in early 2022.

In addition to these frequency services, National Grid has also deployed Stability Pathfinder, a project to find the most cost-effective ways to address stability issues on the grid. This includes evaluating the inertia and short-circuit contribution of grid-forming-based inverters. These services can not only help build a robust network, but also provide significant revenue to customers.

Thus, the functionality of the PCS to provide different services will affect the choice of the BESS system.

DC-coupled PV+ESS will begin to play a larger role as existing generation assets seek to optimize performance.

Both PV and BESS play an important role in moving towards net zero. The combination of these two technologies has been explored and applied in many projects. But most of them are AC coupled.

The DC coupled system can save CAPEX of primary equipment (inverter/transformer system, etc.), reduce physical footprint, improve conversion efficiency, and decrease PV output reduction in DC/DC ratio scenario. High ACs, which can be a business advantage.

These hybrid systems will make photovoltaic production more controllable and dispatchable, which will increase the value of the electricity generated. Additionally, the ESS system will be able to absorb power at cheap times when the connection would otherwise be redundant, thus draining the grid connection asset.

Longer Duration Energy Storage Systems will also begin to proliferate in 2022. 2021 has certainly been the year that large-scale PV emerges in the UK. Scenarios that are suitable for long-duration energy storage, including peak shaving, capacity market; improvement of the network utilization rate to reduce transport costs; mitigate peak load demands to reduce investments in capacity upgrades and ultimately reduce electricity costs and carbon intensity.

The market demands long-term energy storage. We believe that 2022 will mark the beginning of the era of this technology.

BESS Residential Hybrid will play an important role in the revolution of green energy production/consumption at the household level. Cost-effective and safe hybrid residential BESS that combines rooftop PV, battery and a two-way plug-and-play inverter to realize a home microgrid. With rising energy costs and technology poised to help make the switch, we expect rapid adoption in this area.

technology trends with Sungrow
Sungrow’s new ST2752UX liquid-cooled battery energy storage system with an AC/DC coupling solution for large-scale power plants. Image: SunGrow.

What about the years between now and 2030 – what might be some of the longer-term technology trends influencing deployment?

Several factors will affect the deployment of the energy storage system between 2022 and 2030.

The development of new battery cell technologies that can be commercially applied will further advance the deployment of energy storage systems. Over the past few months, we have witnessed the huge jump in the cost of lithium feedstock which is driving up the price of energy storage systems. This may not be economically viable.

We expect that over the next decade there will be a lot of innovation in flow battery and solid state battery developments. Which technologies become viable will depend on the cost of raw materials and how quickly new concepts can be brought to market.

With the acceleration of the deployment of battery energy storage systems since 2020, battery recycling should be considered in the next few years upon reaching the ‘End of Life’. This is very important to maintain a sustainable environment.

There are already many research institutions working on battery recycling research. They focus on themes such as “cascading use” (sequential use of resources) and “direct dismantling”. The energy storage system must be designed to facilitate recycling.

The structure of the grid network will also affect the deployment of energy storage systems. In the late 1880s, there was a battle for power grid dominance between the AC system and the DC systems.

Alternating current won out and is now the foundation of the electrical grid, even in the 21st century. However, this situation is changing, with a strong penetration of power electronic systems since the last decade. We can see the rapid development of DC power systems from high voltage (320kV, 500kV, 800kV, 1100kV) to DC distribution systems.

Battery energy storage could follow this grid shift over the next decade.

Hydrogen is a very hot topic regarding the development of future energy storage systems. There is no doubt that hydrogen will play an important role in the field of energy storage. But along the hydrogen development journey, existing renewable technologies will also contribute massively.

There are already experimental projects using PV+ESS to power electrolysis for hydrogen production. ESS will guarantee green/uninterrupted power supply during the production process.