A Battery Management Technology Rising to the Cloud.
In the 21st century, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have become one of the mostly used energy storage devices due to their advantages of high energy density, light weight, small size, and long cycle times. Their main application scenarios are:
1. Electric Vehicles (EVs). Survey statistics show that in 2021, the number of new EVs in the United States and Canada will account for 0.9% and 1.2%, and sales will continue to grow rapidly. Global EV sales in 2021 was 108% higher than the previous year. LIBs already account for 40% of the value of EVs.
2. Stationary Energy Storage Systems (Stationary ESS). LIBs-based stationary ESSs are widely used in today's industrial and commercial buildings and residences. A 2019 U.S. Department of Energy report pointed out that globally, ESSs using LIBs already account for 48% (excluding pumped hydro) of the total ESS power supply, working to store and utilize renewable energy and enable peak-shaving, which reduces electricity costs for enterprises.
With the continuously increasing needs of people for LIBs and the expansion of LIB applications, ensuring the "safe, reliable, efficient and economical" operation of LIBs has become very important. Therefore, it has become an inevitable trend to use advanced energy management systems for intelligent operation and maintenance (O&M) of LIB-based ESSs. This includes:
1. Multi-mode intelligent O&M. That is, based on users' needs and usage patterns, and taking into account factors such as climate, temperature, electricity price, etc., a battery operation protocol is formulated to achieve use purposes such as energy saving and consumption reduction.
2. Intelligent, remote, and 7/24 maintenance to reduce manual O&M costs.
3. Actively monitoring batteries to prevent failures and accidents, ensuring safety.
4. For enterprises and residential areas with large demand for electricity, the coordinated management of battery containers and other energy assets, such as oil generators, UPS, etc.
In order to better achieve the above goals, with the help of big data and cloud computing platform, the advanced energy O&M management system has "risen to the cloud", which can simultaneously serve a large number of customers online, saving customers the O&M cost of the ESSs. Also, the LIB usage data can be obtained from a large number of client ESSs to train the battery aging model and discover risks in advance to better ensure the safety of LIBs.
Currently, the mainstream home ESS products in North America (such as Tesla Powerwall series) do not use battery online O&M management system, and the safety of batteries completely depends on the local BMS, which inherently can only support limited functions. However, the vast majority of LIBs in the North American market are NMC-based, which have high safety risks. Customers are exposed to uncontrollable safety risk of batteries. Providing O&M service with a cloud-based platform is a natural way to address the issue.
Demanded by real applications, such system has been developed and deployed in China with advanced features and real application experience. But this system and platform cannot be directly used to provide services to North American enterprises and households due to sales restrictions and data safety concerns. As a local company, if we can adapt the technology and establish a localized platform to provide localized service to better guarantee the "safe, reliable, efficient and economical" applications of LIBs throughout their life cycle, we will win huge opportunities and gain more market space.
In addition, the lifespan of LIBs installed in EVs is generally 8-10 years, and the rapid growth of electric vehicles in recent years will generate a large number of retired LIBs in the next decade. Since retired LIBs still contain 70-80% of the remaining power, the remaining value of these LIBs can be harvested by repurposing them into Secondary-Life Batteries (SLBs) and using them in stationary ESSs. It is a historical opportunity to reduce their building cost and carbon footprint.
However, considering that a large number of the SLBs are NMC-based, their safety risk is much more concerned than new LIBs. which is highly dependent on the online energy O&M management system to maximize the safety of ESS. Therefore, providing an online energy O&M management system with advanced technology and excellent functions can not only provide much-needed services for North American industrial, commercial and residential buildings, but also seize the huge business opportunity of SLBs in advance, which is a historical opportunity.