The Lithium-ion battery storage is the most common form of energy storage in today’s world powering everything from consumer electronics to EVs with renewable energy storage solutions.
A recent report stated that the global Lithium-ion battery market was worth US$31,7 Billion in 2016. This figure is expected to double in size within the next six years reaching a total market value of US$67.7 Billion by 2022. That’s an immense annual growth rate of 13.7%!
Lithium-ion battery use is most popular with mobile phones and laptops. Yet the demand for them in EVs and hybrid vehicles is growing and this is expected to be the trend moving forward as market forces drive the popularity of EVs and their prices come down, making them more accessible to the man on the street.
The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing region for Lithium-ion batteries, accounting for 45% of the market share, followed by North America.
Here we dive into the top 5 Lithium-ion battery manufacturers.
1. LG Chem
LG Chem as it’s often referred to is the largest chemical company in South Korea, with its headquarters situated in Seoul. It was also the 13th largest chemical factory in the world according to sales revenue in 2014. The company has eight factories in South Korea and 29 business locations around the globe.
LG Chem is a supplier of petrochemicals ranging from basic distillates to specialty polymers. The company also supplies the IT and electronics industry with display and optical films, printed circuit materials and toners.
In 1999 LG Chem completed the development of the Lithium-ion battery and began mass production, a first for South Korea. By the end of 2011, LG Chem was the 3rd largest supplier of Lithium-ion batteries, supplying the market with 1,000 million cells!
They have also branched out into the energy storage solutions (ESS) market and became the world’s number 1 Lithium-ion ESS company in the world supplying Lithium-ion energy storage solutions to the residential commercial and utility market. Their Lithium-ion ESS technology has been used across Europe, Asia and North America in projects ranging from renewable integration to peak shifting and frequency control.
One of the largest energy storage projects is in Germany, at a whopping 140 MWh!
Their unique patented stack and fold technology improves the efficiency of the system by creating a high energy density unit that is also compact.
Sonnen is a German company, founded in 2010 by Christoph Ostermann and Torsten Stiefenhofer. The company develops and manufactures energy storage systems for the residential and commercial market.
They are considered market leaders in Germany.
One of the company founders Torsten Stiefenhofer developed a Lithium-ion ESS for the residential market between 2008 and 2010. By 2016 Sonnen had already developed and marketed the 8th generation.
Germany is the main sales market for energy storage systems. They supply to Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the United States and Australia.
Sonnen took the initiative in 2016 of starting its own power trading community, thus allowing members to trade energy amongst themselves. Since then though, Sonnen announced they would be adopting the use of blockchain technology to trade energy. This approach would help stabilise the power grid and improve the integration of renewable energies.
The Sonnen battery is unique in that it’s been designed as a complete integrated system. In addition to the battery supply, there is an inverter, power management system and a power consumption meter included.
The Power Management System is intelligent as it tracks the user’s energy consumption and also the weather statistics. It then uses this data to determine the optimal period for charging and discharging of the energy storage system.
3. Simpliphi Power
Simpliphi Power is a US based energy storage company, with its head office situated in California. The company has an interesting background: it started out by supplying innovative Lithium-ion energy storage solutions for Hollywood movie sets.
The company started out in 2002 as Libertypak, mainly supplying the movie industry with battery packs known as LibertyPaks and LibertyBelts. Their battery packs were actually used in the Tron: Legacy movie to provide power for the lights in the Tron legacy suits.
These original battery packs used Lithium-ion combined with cobalt, but they later developed a more efficient and safer version using lithium ferrous phosphate.
In 2010 the company was changed to Simpliphi Power and developed a new line of energy storage products called OES or Optimised Energy Storage for the residential sector. They also developed a portable backup power supply for off-grid applications, known as the Little Genny, using Lithium-ion technology and charged by solar power. These units have actually been used by the US military in harsh environments such as Afghanistan.
Their other products include Lithium-ion Phosphate energy storage systems such as the Core range with energy storage capacity ranging from 1.3 kWh to 2 kWh. Their Peak product range provides high power output with energy storage capacity ranging from 1.2 kWh to 3.2 kWh.
Their fully integrated range includes a built-in energy management solution.
Their Powerbank solution is a fully integrated battery powered AC generator and Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
4. Lithionics Battery
Lithionics Battery is another US energy storage company based in Florida. Lithionics manufacture Lithium-ion phosphate batteries for different markets ranging from automotive, low-speed EVs, renewables, marine, portable applications and telecoms.
The patented NeverDie® BMS or Battery Management System provides protection against over-charging and over-discharging, accidental short circuit, cell balancing, temperature extremes, the option for remote telemetry, and the option for state-of-charge (SOC) monitoring.
Lithionics Battery Lithium-ion batteries are four times lighter and stronger than conventional lead-acid batteries. They also have a longer lifespan than lead acid by 6 to 8 times and charge 4 times faster!
The company has invested heavily in addressing safety and stability issues of traditional Lithium-ion batteries while managing to provide some of the highest energy densities of virtually any Lithium-ion product on the market.
The next generation of Lithionics battery range of Lithium-ion batteries last longer, charge faster and are more environmentally friendly.
5. Mercedes Benz Energy
The name Mercedes Benz is synonymous with the high-quality German-engineered luxury car that has been around for over a 100 years. But more recently they started developing Lithium-ion energy storage solutions for the residential and small business market.
Mercedes Benz has their head office in Stuttgart.
They saw a gap in the residential and small business ESS or Energy Storage market and decided to develop their own Lithium-ion battery solution. They launched their home energy storage solution in 2015, shortly after Tesla released the Tesla Powerwall.
Their home energy storage solution was originally designed for the demanding conditions found in cars. The battery packs are modular and can be scaled up. Each module has a 2.5 kWh energy storage capacity. They can be scaled up to a total of 20 kWh.
The Lithium-ion battery has a long lifespan, with 80% capacity after 10 years of use.
The battery system is also supported by SMA’s Sunny Island battery inverter.
The Lithium-ion battery is found in most consumer electronics today as the latest energy storage solution. It has superior energy storage advantages over the more traditional technologies. It’s also more environmentally friendly than older, heavy metal counterparts.
The demand for Lithium-ion batteries is growing each year at a rate of 13.7% per annum. The value of the global market is expected to reach US$67.7 Billion by the year 2022. Demand is mainly being driven by EVs and renewables. Most of the demand comes from the Asia-Pacific region, namely China and Japan.
The list of top Lithium-ion battery suppliers includes Tesla, LG Chemical, Sonnen, Simpliphi Power, Lithionics Battery and Mercedes Benz Energy Storage.
Each company has their own unique patented technologies offering superior Lithium-ion Energy Storage solutions.
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Photo credit: Mercedes Benz Energy