Thursday, January 8, 2015

Electricity Storage Makes Dramatic Advances

This morning (January 18 2015) the Nikkei carries an article highlighting a Sumitomo Denko announcement of their plan to cut the cost of energy storage to "1/10" of current levels.  Sounds impressive.

Well ... not quite THAT impressive.  The article focuses on Sumitomo Denko's "Redox Flux" batteries.  Yes, these are one of several impressive battery technologies now being advanced globally.  Sumitomo Denko's target is to cut cost to 20,000 to 30,000 yen per kWh, and to have a large scale product available commercially by 2020.  The important points -- redox flow batteries do not have a limited number of cycles, so conceivably can last over a decade and be consistent with the life of a solar PV facility.  This compares with Lithium Ion and NAS, which have limited cycle lifes.  Also, Redox Flow is safer.

The article does not mention any of the other recent efforts OUTSIDE Japan involving redox flow (more specifically vanadium redox flow) that have been in the renewables trade press over the past year.  I collected a few of these in recent months.  These products are NOT in the 200,000-300,000 yen per kWh range.  Rather, prices are already sliding toward the $500 per kWh range (around 60,000 yen at current exchange rates), and are likely to go lower fast.

So if Sumitomo Denko does not roll out its product until 2020, the main question is, will the market have already passed it by?  Has the market already, today, passed it by?

CellCube model batteries:  Gildemeister -- already available. (now part of DMG Mori Seiki)

Unienergy -- currently $700 to $800 per kWh storage, when scale up will be around $500.

Imergy -- driving costs down from $500 toward $300 per kWh storage.

Eos Energy -- $160 per kWh storage product now taking orders for 2016 delivery!

For a note on ViZn's Zinc Iron Redox Flow batteries, see Peter Detwiler's November 2014 Forbes Post:

And his 2014 year-end post on storage generally as one of the ten major themes of the past year: