With net zero becoming a global trend, the energy-storage battery industry is expected to enjoy exponential growth in demand in the next several years with global energy-storage battery sales in 2022 already enjoying an on-year surge of 177%, according to DIGITIMES Research's new study of China's battery industry. At the moment, most energy-storage battery suppliers are from China.
Energy-storage batteries and power batteries are both electrochemical energy-storage systems, while China's key power battery makers such as CATL, BYD, and EVE Energy already began tapping into the energy-storage battery field in 2008 and worked keenly in expanding the business in the past five years.
The lithium-ion technology currently still accounts for a majority of energy-storage batteries, while sodium-ion and redox flow are the two new emerging technologies used for energy-storage batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most mature in terms of technology development, but their safeness remains an issue, while related raw materials' high prices, despite having seen a reduction in early 2023, have also prompted battery makers to seek alternative materials, DIGITIMES Research's study shows.
Since sodium-ion batteries can maintain steady discharge capacity in low-temperature working environments, and are safer to use and cheaper, the batteries are suitable for low-speed transportation vehicles and energy-storage applications. Meanwhile, the Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRB) features an architecture with high safeness and a long lifespan, making it an excellent pick in large-scale long-work energy-storage applications.
The industrialization of sodium-ion batteries is still in the initial stage. So far, two types of developers in China are keen on deploying the related business. The first type is power battery makers including CATL and Sunwoda. CATL is working the fastest in commercializing a sodium-ion battery that will begin to supply in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The other type is sodium-ion material technology developers such as startups Hina Battery and Natrium.
In terms of the redox flow battery segment, the VRB is currently the mainstream and has already entered the initial stage of commercialization. Japan's Sumitomo Electric Industries is the earliest in developing and commercializing the VRB, but China-based Rongke Power has the advantage in acquiring sufficient vanadium material supply from partners.