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Growing use of very large lithium-ion batteries

Editorial
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The use of very large lithium-ion battery packs has become increasingly common, much more so than it was ten years ago.

For example, on ships where there were once no such batteries, there are now lithium-ion banks of 1-5MWh.

Autonomous underwater vehicles, mining trucks and buses are also now sporting batteries of up to 350kWh.

In a new development, the UK is to test its first battery system to provide grid-frequency following the recent establishment of a partnership between energy utility firm National Grid and UK-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES). 

The 20MW battery storage system is equivalent to the batteries of up to 1000 pure electric cars, and will provide a dynamic frequency response service that can detect a second of deviation higher or lower than 50Hz, the company claims.

RES has not confirmed the technology that will be used, however considering its use of lithium-ion for all of its current 74MW projects, there is a strong possibility that lithium-ion will be used again in this project, according to the company. 

The installation of this 20MW battery storage system follows the installation of six similar ones by REL in the US.

It appears that the call to replace diesel gensets (which have a global base of at least 600GW) is also spurring the use of large lithium-ion battery packs in grid and microgrid applications. 

It is believed that their use in microgrids in parts of cities could address issues of cost and reliability, as well as the noise and pollution that gensets are known to produce.

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