Driven by a strongth growth in annual installations of stationary storage systems and by the rapidly growing electromobility, the production of batteries and battery cells is becoming a key industry of the future. For the EU Commission, battery production is therefore a strategic necessity for Europe, both for the energy transition and for the competitiveness of the automotive sector.
The worldwide market for energy storage systems is booming – in the private sector as well as the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. Behind-the-meter systems (BTM, as opposed to front-of-meter systems) created to optimize self-consumption are the most important factor driving this boom, ensuring strong growth figures.
Renewable, synthetic energy carriers are one of the central pillars of an integrated energy transition, alongside the direct use of renewable power and temporary storage of this power in batteries. These energy sources make it possible to seasonally store excess solar and wind energy and subsequently use it in many different ways for sector coupling, be it for heat supply, transportation or industry. The key technology for this is power-to-gas (PtG), which involves using energy for electrolysis to break down water into oxygen and hydrogen
Across the world, large energy storage installations are increasingly being coupled with systems for using renewable energies – be they virtual power plants, photovoltaic (PV) power plants, or wind farms. The potential offered by these large-scale storage systems is particularly clear when they are used in conjunction with PV, because solar power is becoming ever more affordable thanks to the continuously falling prices of PV systems. And these savings create more scope for investing in supplementary storage solutions. The combination of PV and storage systems provides important services for supply security and grid stability for the energy world of the future. It also creates tangible financial incentives, since large energy storage systems in particular afford operators the opportunity to earn additional income, for instance from arbitrages, frequency services and – in countries like the UK – capacity market earnings
The number of electric cars on our roads is set to increase dramatically in the coming years. The price of battery packs for electric drives will then fall as a consequence of the economies of scale alone. Nonetheless, lithium-ion batteries are likely to remain the most expensive component in electric vehicles due to the increasing requirements on power density and energy density. However, these energy storage devices still have a residual capacity of 70 to 80% of their original storage capacity when they come to the end of their service life after around 10 years. It would be a real shame to send lithium-ion batteries for recycling at this stage. So instead, they embark on a new life in a stationary storage system.