As I wrote in my piece on cleantech trends from 2014 and expected cleantech trends in 2015, the battery storage market is really blossoming. There are now quite a number of battery startups and battery departments within big corporations that seem to have promising products arriving on the market or soon to arrive on the market. There are also some that have been on the market for years but are now getting a lot more competitive.
I’m going to run down my list of companies to watch right here, but this page will also be updated as new battery companies pop onto the radar or fall off of it. I’m probably missing a few too, so feel free to drop them in the comments below the article for me to add them.
ABB (company site): One of the largest power and automation companies in the world, and one largely focused on cleantech, ABB is of course in the battery storage space. It offers distributed energy storage modules for grid storage purposes, such as peak shaving, load shifting voltage regulation, renewable integration, and backup power.
AESC (company site): Automotive Energy Supply Corporation is one of three “leaders” in the electric vehicle (EV) battery space, according to a Navigant Research report on the market. Being in the EV battery space, it (naturally) produces lithium-ion batteries, using lithium manganate as the cathode.
AES Energy Storage (company site): Although AES has been in the energy business for 30 years, this certainly doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth keeping an eye on for the upcoming year. This market leader has the largest fleet of grid batteries in commercial service and received a notable award in November 2014 of a 20-year contract with Southern California Edison of 100 MW of interconnected battery energy storage. AES partners with industry-leading utilities and power system operators on energy storage projects.
Alevo (company site): Alevo popped out of a long stealth mode in 2014 and is bringing the “first inorganic lithium battery” to the commercial market. It’s near the top of the list here thanks to the alphabet and choice of name, but it’s also one of the most promising-looking companies on the list, imho. It is targeted at the grid storage market.
Ambri (company site): Spun out of MIT, Ambri has been developing liquid metal battery technology for the past few years. It has an initial factory in place, and I’m sure we’ll hear more news from the company in 2015. The batteries are targeted for stationary storage applications.
Amprius (company site): Not to be confused with the similarly named company above, Amprius develops high-capacity lithium-ion batteries that originated at Stanford University. Amprius definitely has the simplest website on this list, but it is still able to slip in the fact that investors include Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, SAIF Partners, Chinergy Capital, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Stanford University. Former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu sits on the board.
Aquion Energy (company site): With a handful of battery storage options now on the table, Aquion Energy’s aqueous hybrid ion battery technology boasts “long cycle life at 100% depth of discharge for long duration (4 to 20 hour) applications.”
Bosch (company site): It may not be Bosch’s signature product, but the technology giant is offering energy storage and related technology and service solutions, particularly in connection with solar and wind power installations.
Boston-Power (company site): 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.
BYD (company site): 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.
CODA Energy (company site): Transformed from an electric car company, CODA Energy now produces UL Certified behind-the-meter energy storage 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 for commercial & industrial customers and renewable microgrids, 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 (company site): Electrovaya produces lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles as well as grid storage. One strong selling point of Electrovayais its non-toxic manufacturing process.
EnerVault (company site): One of a few companies on this list producing redox-flow batteries, EnerVault’s long-duration batteries are based around iron-chromium redox-flow batteries. Naturally, being redox-flow technology, it is targeted at grid and commercial/industrial applications, not electric vehicles.
Envia Systems (company site): After receiving a ton of attention for its promise, and then completely crashing, Envia has apparently been reborn and even landed a contract for its lithium-ion batteries with some notable Detroit automakers.
Eos Energy Storage (company site): Eos Energy Storage has been going quite a different route with its zinc hybrid cathode battery technology. For a 1MW/4MWh storage system, Eos Energy Storage claims a price of $1,000/kW or $160/kWh and 10,000 full cycles or 30 years of life. This is for grid storage application.
GE (company site): Yep, 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.
Green Charge Networks (company site): Green Charge Networks targets commercial and industrial customers and focuses on peak shaving. Furthermore, it offers a $0 down option, taking after the great success of $0 down solar service companies like SolarCity, Sunrun, Sungevity, and Vivint Solar. Apart from commercial and industrial customers, the company also goes after cities, schools, colleges, etc.
Greensmith (company site): Greensmith offers turn-key energy storage systems and seems to work with many of the other companies on this list. It’s core strength is the software between an energy storage system and the grid. The good thing is that this allows Greensmith to be quite technology-neutral when it comes to the storage technologies, and utilize the best technology for a project.
Imergy Power Systems (company site): Imergy is another vanadium redox flow battery company. Its offering is for stationary storage applications all the way down to the residential level. It has landed a few notable deals lately, including with the US Navy.
JLM Energy (company site): JLM offers a portfolio of energy technology products designed to be managed on a single cloud-based software platform. JLM Energy has residential, commercial, and industrial advanced energy storage systems capable of demand shaving, PV shouldering, net metering, and power outage backup. JLM’s proprietary software, Measurz, provides real-time energy management and reporting.
Johnson Controls (company site): 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 (company site): 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.
OutBack Power (company site): Recently partnering with Sunrun for residential energy storage, OutBack Power seems to be looking forward to a good year. It offers battery solutions for essentially all stationary uses, as well as some mobile power needs, such as in an RV or marine vessel.
Panasonic / Tesla / SolarCity (Panasonic site / Tesla site / SolarCity site): The hottest company in the car world is Tesla, and probably the hottest solar company (at least in the US) is SolarCity, and that has led to the Tesla–Panasonic–SolarCity partnership being one of the hottest in the battery storage world. Tesla battery packs using Panasonic battery cells are used in the Tesla Model S, but they are also used to some degree for grid, commercial, and residential storage needs.
Pellion Technologies (company site): Pellion is reportedly developing next-gen 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.
Primus Power (company site): Primus is installing zinc-bromine flow batteries with a single tank and no flimsy membrane separator for a system that provides “duration without degradation.” Backed by DBL, the same VCs behind SolarCity and Tesla, Primus Power has signed up a couple utilities, Puget Sound Energy and Modesto Irrigation District, and a Department of Defense microgrid in San Diego. For utility-scale or commercial/industrial behind-the-meter storage, its modular systems claim a cycle life beyond 20,000 cycles, have been tested by Sandia National Labs, and will soon be testing with PG&E.
QuantumScape (company site): QuantumScape has gotten a lot of attention of late, thanks to Volkswagen’s investment in the company. It apparently uses “lithium” batteries, but it’s big breakthrough is reportedly due to the use of perovskite.
RES Americas (company site): 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.”
S&C Electric Company (company site): Building on its long experience in utility-grade switching and protection products and smart grid solutions, S&C installed its first MW-scale energy storage system in 2006 and has since connected over 150 MWh of storage to the grid in the United States, Australia, Europe, and Canada. The company uses its proprietary power conversion system (PCS) to integrate a wide variety of battery chemistries, catering to each specific application. S&C recently completed the 6MW/10 MWh UK Power Network installation, the largest energy storage system in Europe.
Sakti3 (company site): Sakti3 is working on solid-state batteries, a category of batteries that is assumed to eventually replace lithium-ion batteries. 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.
Samsung (company site): When I visited Younicos (see below) in Germany, it was using Samsung lithium-ion batteries in its storage system, after thoroughly testing batteries from a bunch of different companies. So, I assume they are pretty good. Its batteries are used in a large variety of mobile devices, electric vehicles, and stationary applications.
Seeo (company site): Luckily, this startup comes right after Samsung — a prominent new investor in Seeo that we just noted knows a thing or two about batteries. Like Sakti3, it 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.
Sharp (company site): Sharp’s SmartStorage™ is a unique energy storage solution that can be used to cut utility demand charges for commercial and industrial buildings. It combines “cutting-edge hardware,” with Sharp’s own intelligent software. The system employs sophisticated, predictive controls to manage the release of this energy, resulting in high performance, high system efficiency and world-class reliability. Also, it is backed by a 10-year performance guarantee from Sharp – if yearly demand charge savings are not met, Sharp will pay the difference. It also comes with a 10-year O&M service agreement, which includes 100% free maintenance and a 10-year warranty service supported by Sharp’s nationwide service centers.
SK Continental E-motion (company site): SK Continental E-motion is another leading producer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It is in both Germany and Korea, with its headquarters in Berlin. Its R&D organization includes ~180 engineers.
Siemens (company site): 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.”
Solar Grid Storage (company site): Solar Grid Storage develops battery storage systems co-located with solar PV power systems. Solar Grid Storage typically installs, owns, and operates the system. However, it also offers an option for the solar project owner to own the system.
Spider9 (company site): 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 Excelerator program.
Stem (company site): Stem is another startup that has been getting quite a lot of attention in the past year. It is keen to focus on the word “intelligent” when describing its energy storage solutions, as its offering is not just about the batteries but the software surrounding them and connecting them to other components of the electricity system. It offers “an integrated solution of cloud-based predictive software and advanced energy storage,” according to its website. “The Stem system lowers your monthly energy bill by reducing peak loads, predicting your energy usage patterns, and deploying stored energy at precise times—with no change to how your business operates.” It is targeting business and utility applications.
Sunverge (company site): Again focused on the term “intelligent,” Sunverge is focused on utilization with distributed energy storage application (i.e., solar power). “It combines batteries, power electronics, and multiple energy inputs in a UL-certified appliance that is remotely managed and controlled by software running in the cloud.” Its target customers include electricity consumers, electricity retailers, and utilities. It recently teamed up with SunPower — one of the largest solar power companies in the world — for solar + storage applications in the US and Australia.
ViZn Energy (company site): ViZn uses a different flow battery technology than any of the companies above — a low-cost, non-acid, zinc-iron chemistry. To start with, at least, it is targeting the microgrid market.
Younicos (company site): If you follow CleanTechnica closely, I’m sure you know that I visited Younicos headquarters in Berlin in September. As I noted above, it does not produce batteries, and it has tested dozens of them to choose the best for its system. It actually combines lithium-ion batteries with sodium-sulfur batteries and vanadium redox flow batteries in order to create something akin to a superbattery. 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. Younicos has been under development for ~8 years and has ~50 software engineers on staff.
That’s my current list. Let me know if you’ve got others I should add to this!
Image Credit: Samsung batteries at Younicos facility in Berlin, by Zachary Shahan | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0 license)
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