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Why does most electrochemical energy storage use lithium batteries?

Why does most electrochemical energy storage use lithium batteries?

By the end of 2022, lithium-ion batteries have accounted for 90% of global electrochemical energy storage, significantly ahead of other secondary batteries. As for why lithium batteries can stand out in the energy storage industry, this article discusses three types of batteries commonly used in energy storage, which are lithium batteries, lead-acid batteries, and flow batteries, from the perspective of battery performance and commercialization.

Key 1: Battery performance

In terms of battery performance, the working voltage, energy density, and energy efficiency of lithium batteries are higher than those of lead-acid and flow batteries, and their service life is also longer, so they can be more widely used in commercial applications of energy storage, such as lead-acid batteries Due to the low energy density, it is not suitable for application in power-type energy storage that needs to support a large voltage for a short time. Due to the large size of the flow battery, it takes a lot of space to build large-capacity energy storage. In contrast, the properties of lithium batteries will be relatively similar to the demand for energy storage.

In addition, energy storage is mostly paired with green power generation facilities, and the lead in lead-acid batteries is a heavy metal. If it is not properly disposed of, it will cause great harm to the environment and the human body, which runs counter to the original intention of clean energy. Although lead-acid batteries are relatively cheap, the serious self-discharge effect, low charge and discharge times, and service life make them unable to shine in the field of energy storage. The reason why flow batteries are not as widely used in energy storage as lithium-iron batteries can be viewed from the perspective of battery commercialization.

Key 2: Battery commercialization level

After the advent of lithium batteries, many Chinese, American, Japanese, Korean, and European manufacturers saw business opportunities and began to compete for patents, and the number of applications has grown rapidly since 2006.

However, due to the booming factors in Japan and South Korea, as well as the limited demand and patent restrictions in the United States and Europe, the layout of lithium iron phosphate batteries is mostly in China. In addition, China implemented patent exemption in 2011, exempting manufacturers located in China for local production and sales from patent authorization. This move has allowed China's lithium iron phosphate battery industry to develop rapidly.

In 2015, China accounted for half of the global consumer lithium battery market. At the same time, many consumer lithium battery manufacturers transitioned to electric vehicles. As of 2022, China's lithium iron batteries and cathode materials accounted for nearly 100% of the global market, in In the process of mass production and continuous improvement of technology, the cost of lithium batteries has also been reduced year by year, and China's competitive advantage in the lithium battery industry has become increasingly strong.

As for the flow battery, although the number of cycles and the service life are relatively large, it is still in the early stage of technology development and commercialization, so the initial cost required is the highest among the three batteries. At present, the flow battery closest to commercialization is all-vanadium liquid However, due to the high price of vanadium and the incompleteness of the industrial chain, the initial investment cost of vanadium redox flow battery in energy storage is 1.5 times that of lithium battery, so many companies prefer to choose lithium with lower initial cost Battery.

At this stage, many overseas companies have invested a lot of money to develop and expand the flow battery industry chain, hoping to expand the application of flow batteries. However, the industry structure of flow batteries is more extensive and complex than that of lithium batteries, including upstream raw materials Materials and electrolytes, etc. need to be developed in a transitional stage on a year-by-year basis. Once the industrial chain is established, due to the difference in battery performance, the application in energy storage will also be different from that of lithium batteries.

In summary, the development of energy storage coincides with the mature period of lithium battery development, making it the most widely used lithium battery, while the commercialization of flow batteries started later than the development of energy storage, coupled with the need to overcome the installation space And the subject of relatively high cost, so the application in the field of energy storage is more extensive than that of lithium-free batteries.

Will lithium batteries continue to be hot in the business?

Due to the performance advantages of lithium batteries and the early timing of commercialization, mass production will also have cost advantages, which will remain the mainstream in the next few years, and the high price of lithium salts in 2022 will bring many potential batteries to the surface. Discuss the possibility of its future commercialization.


Taking the current energy storage market as an example, the global average energy storage time is two to four hours at this stage, and the market is also developing towards energy storage of more than four hours or even longer.

At that time, if there are stronger policies and regulations requiring the installation of long-term energy storage, it will directly increase the downstream demand, and will also help to drive the speed of the development of the flow battery supply chain.


However, the price of lithium salt has fallen recently and entered After the downlink, the competitiveness of other batteries in the early stage of commercialization and performance development is still unclear. It is understood that the current verification data has not exceeded the industry's expectations.


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