Liquid-cooled energy storage drives demand for temperature-controlled supply chains



Not long ago, Tesla's Megapack caught fire, sparking a heated debate in the industry. Temperature control technology, as one of the solutions to energy storage security, is the main reason for the attention of the energy storage temperature control market. The popularity of the energy storage track in the market is also one of the important reasons for the attention of energy storage temperature control. At present, there are three main types of companies involved in energy storage temperature control, namely data center temperature control companies, industrial cooling equipment companies, and automotive temperature control companies.


In the context of the rapid development of the industry, many companies with refrigeration technology have entered the energy storage temperature control track. At present, among the companies in the field of energy storage temperature control, the companies that lay out the liquid cooling technology path are mainly Sanhe Tongfei Refrigeration, Envicool, Goaland, Songz, Aotecar and other companies

1. Liquid cooling for energy storage systems stands out

The cooling methods of the energy storage system include air cooling, liquid cooling, phase change material cooling, and heat pipe cooling. The current industry is dominated by air cooling and liquid cooling. Air cooling benefits from better technical economy, higher reliability and higher penetration rate. Compared with air cooling, liquid cooling has four advantages: lower battery pack temperature, lower operating energy consumption, lower risk of battery thermal runaway, and lower investment costs. Thermal management and phase change cooling have good heat dissipation performance, but the cost is high, and it is still in the laboratory stage.

In the future, with the improvement of energy storage energy and charge-discharge rate, the proportion of medium and high-power energy storage products using liquid cooling will gradually increase, and liquid cooling is expected to become the mainstream solution in the future. Especially with the development of energy storage systems to large capacity and high energy density, the penetration rate of liquid cooling systems will increase significantly.

Manufacturers with accumulation in the field of liquid cooling, joint R&D experience with mainstream energy storage system integrators and lithium battery companies in the world, or good cooperation foundation include Sanhe Tongfei Refrigeration, Envicool, Goaland, Songz, SHENLING, COTRAN, FRD, etc. Judging from the solutions proposed by major manufacturers at present, the liquid cooling solution can increase the battery life by more than 20% compared with the air cooling solution, reduce the energy consumption by more than 20%, and the battery temperature difference is within 3 degrees Celsius.

Liquid cooling for energy storage systems stands out


As a medium and long-term technical solution, the market penetration rate of liquid cooling may gradually increase, and the market share is expected to reach about 45% in 2025. Mainstream system integrators have also deployed liquid cooling products one after another, and the adoption of liquid cooling solutions has become an industry trend. According to incomplete statistics, since 2020, more than a dozen energy storage manufacturers such as CATL, BYD, Sungrow, and Envision Energy have successively launched liquid cooling products. Increase the promotion of liquid cooling solutions, and intensively release products using liquid cooling temperature control solutions in 2021.

2. Why is temperature control important for energy storage

The temperature control system plays a crucial role in the safety, efficiency and lifespan of energy storage. In May 2022, China's National Energy Administration issued relevant documents on strengthening the safety management of electrochemical energy storage power plants. From the policy level, it is clearly required to strengthen the safety management of electrochemical energy storage power stations, strengthen the awareness of energy storage safety in all units, and implement the responsibilities of each subject. The safety of energy storage is ensured from the aspects of equipment selection, construction, grid connection, and operation and maintenance.

Policies drive market demand, and safety management links such as energy storage temperature control will usher in a period of accelerated development. It is predicted that the value of China's energy storage temperature control shipments will reach 16.5 billion RMB in 2025. The liquid cooling temperature control solution will become the mainstream of the market in the future, and the market penetration rate is expected to reach 45% in 2025. Liquid cooling will account for about 45% in 2025, or 7.425 billion RMB. According to industry insiders, temperature control of energy storage is a key part of the security of energy storage systems, and its main purpose is to keep the temperature of energy storage battery equipment within a reasonable range.

Why is temperature control important for energy storage


The temperature control system can keep the temperature of the energy storage battery equipment in a reasonable range of 10-35 °C, effectively preventing thermal runaway, and is a key part of the safety guarantee of the energy storage system. In addition, temperature control prolongs life decay by reducing the temperature difference between cells. Industry barriers to energy storage temperature control are mainly reflected in temperature control capabilities, product customization capabilities, and cost control capabilities.

Under the dual carbon goal, the installed capacity of wind power continues to expand. In order to effectively promote the consumption of new energy power, the release of large-scale and high-capacity energy storage power stations is accelerated. As an important part of the energy storage system, the thermal management system will benefit from the growth of the installed capacity of the energy storage, and the temperature control market of the energy storage may continue to expand.

3. Temperature control market characteristics

Due to the technical transferability of temperature control technology, temperature control companies with early deployment of energy storage business and comprehensive business types have a first-mover advantage. At the same time, the temperature control service is highly customized, and the cost of switching application scenarios is high, resulting in low willingness of users to change manufacturers and high stickiness. Therefore, in the short term, the first-mover advantage in the temperature control market is the key factor. This means that the next few years to seize the initial market will be a golden period for the development of energy storage and its temperature control market.

At the same time, since the liquid cooling track is the mainstream trend, it is easier for companies with accumulated technology and experience in liquid cooling and outdoor application scenarios to gain a leading position in the market. However, the current direct liquid cooling technology is still immature, and the indirect liquid cooling needs to be customized according to the actual application, such as the number of flow channels, flow rate, flow rate, etc., and the thermal management solutions of different projects and integrators are quite different. For example, the key components of the liquid-cooled plate-type liquid-cooling system need to be jointly developed and designed with customers before manufacturing, to confirm the selection and matching, and the products are highly customized.

Temperature control market characteristics


Therefore, downstream customers tend to choose manufacturers with liquid-cooled plate design capabilities. Therefore, for temperature control equipment companies, their core competitiveness will be reflected in customization capabilities, as well as long-term experience and technical accumulation of thermal management solutions. The medium and long-term market distribution will focus on companies with more mature customized designs, better non-standard designs and higher cost-effective products.

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