The best lithium batteries are the most commercialized new energy storage route. The current lithium battery energy storage has three obvious characteristics: 1) The industrial chain is mature and the scale benefit is obvious; 2) The comprehensive performance is excellent and the investment cost is low; 3) The construction period is short and can be quickly configured. It is predicted that the shipment of energy storage lithium batteries will exceed 300GWh in 2025.
1.The established power battery companies entering the energy storage battery field
According to reports, in 2021, the energy storage cells of the CATL were very prominent and unmatched. However, due to the huge market opportunities and industrial attractiveness of energy storage, there are many companies entering the field with distinctive characteristics, forming the heavyweight companies of energy storage cells. The first category is the leading power battery companies such as CATL, EVE, GOTION HIGH-TECH, etc. They cut into the field of energy storage batteries from power batteries, and regard energy storage batteries as the company's new growth pole, and have made outstanding achievements in the field of energy storage. Some have also achieved double-flying of energy storage system and energy storage battery business, quickly becoming powerhouses in the field of energy storage.
In fact, CATL laid out energy storage at the beginning of its establishment. The ten-year energy storage road opened by the CATL is called the road of first suppression and then development in the industry. In the six years from 2014 to 2019, the revenue of CATL’s energy storage batteries accounted for 5.11%, 1.56%, 0.26%, 0.08%, 0.64%, and 1.33% of the total revenue, respectively. The performance of its energy storage cells has been ups and downs. However, in 2020, energy storage batteries accounted for 21.6% of the total revenue, achieving geometric growth; and in 2021, CATL achieved the first market share of global energy storage battery production for the first time.
Looking back at the energy storage layout of the CATL, it will be followed up to mid-2011 at the earliest. It can be said that the CATL officially entered the field of energy storage even earlier than the power battery. That year, the results of the battery bidding for the Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project, which attracted much attention, were released. As one of the 5 major battery suppliers, ATL, the predecessor of CATL, won the bid for a 4MW×4h lithium iron phosphate battery system. In 2018, CATL began to set up an energy storage division, which became an important turning point for its energy storage business. Today, CATL is at the top of the Top 10 home energy storage battery companies.
At that time, two development routes of "energy storage + power" had been established to adapt to the rapid development of the market. It is reported that for different application scenarios of energy storage, CATL mainly focuses on 5 types of batteries "92Ah, 120Ah, 240Ah, 271Ah, 280Ah", which can provide products ranging from batteries to modules, electric boxes, battery cabinets and so on. Since energy storage batteries and power batteries are basically the same in terms of cell raw materials, energy storage batteries will also benefit from the company's power battery resource advantages. The huge scale effect of power batteries is also driving down the cost of energy storage systems.
Another giant, BYD, has a long history of deploying energy storage business, and it is also one of the earliest companies in China to engage in energy storage business. In 2008, the BYD Electric Power Research Institute was formally established and began to focus on the field of energy storage. The latest data from BYD shows that its global shipments of energy storage have exceeded 4.6GWh. It is worth mentioning that power giants such as Guoxuan Hi-Tech and Yiwei Lithium Energy have successively entered the energy storage industry with a large amount of investment, and have also maintained consistent brand influence in the energy storage field, quickly becoming the latecomers in the energy storage field.
2.Emerging energy storage battery companies focus on energy storage cell technology
The other is to take HITHIUM, REPT, and cornex as examples, directly seeking the independence of energy storage cells and becoming emerging outstanding companies in energy storage. Since its establishment in 2019, HITHIUM has achieved large-scale mass production and delivery from 0 to 1 in less than 3 years, and has made substantial progress in product innovation, capacity deployment, and market development at home and abroad. It has become a rising star in China's energy storage industry that has attracted much attention.
Since its establishment, HITHIUM has insisted on focusing on the core technology of energy storage batteries, investing a lot of resources, and laying out forward-looking technologies and product toolboxes at all levels such as materials, processes, equipment, cells, and systems. Its purpose is to develop extremely low-cost energy storage products under the premise of satisfying high safety, and to solve the pain points of the market to the greatest extent. At present, the planned production capacity of HITHIUM's Xiamen base and Chongqing base has reached 135GWh, and it is planned to deliver over 100GWh of cells in 2025. Similarly, REPT and cornex have also entered the field of energy storage cells with excellent performance, and their future performance is worth looking forward to.
3.Energy storage cell companies build energy storage system integration business
Another type of company takes batteries as an important product advantage to build a more competitive energy storage system integration business and build barriers in the energy storage field, such as Narada, ZTT, Trinasolor, etc. ZTT is creating technical barriers for system integration, and self-developed cells have become an important weapon for them to attack the market. In their view, high-safety and long-life batteries are the foundation of energy storage systems, and high reliability and high efficiency are the keys to energy storage system integration.
Therefore, the integrated layout will help them stand out in the field of energy storage. In the first half of 2022, ZTT and others experienced explosive growth in the field of energy storage(especially home energy storage), winning bids for multi-billion-dollar energy storage system projects, which are closely related to their self-research on energy storage cells. The next two years will be an important strategic opportunity period for energy storage cell manufacturers, and cost and technology will become the core competitive factors for energy storage cell manufacturers in this cell battle.