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Better Than Tesla? This Grid-Scale Storage System Lasts Longer

May 13, 2024 by Jake Hertz

The CATL system remained intact for years without degrading and surpassed Tesla’s Megapack in capacity and energy density. 

Reliance on renewable energy poses challenges to the uninterruptable electricity supply. When sunlight or wind isn’t present, energy production fluctuates, potentially leading to supply and demand imbalances. To address this issue, energy storage systems, particularly batteries, have become an integral grid technology. 

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), a China-based battery manufacturer, has developed a grid-scale energy storage system they claim experienced 0% degradation in the first five years of use. 

 

CATL’s energy storage system, TENER

CATL’s energy storage system, TENER. Image used courtesy of CATL

 

Energy Storage Challenges

Unlike traditional sources, renewable energy generation fluctuates based on weather conditions and the time of day. This intermittency creates instability in the power supply, necessitating the integration of energy storage solutions like batteries to store excess energy during peak generation periods for use in low or non-generation periods. Effectively managing fluctuations in supply and demand to ensure brid stability presents more challenges.

 

Batteries installed in a smart power grid. Image courtesy of the Department of Energy

Batteries installed in a smart power grid. Image courtesy of the Department of Energy

 

One such challenge is the high cost of energy storage systems, which becomes a cost-prohibitive hindrance to their widespread adoption. The extensive modifications to accommodate large-scale energy storage within existing systems also create scalability issues, resulting in even further financial investments and resources. 

Finally, conventional lithium-ion batteries degrade over time due to chemical and mechanical changes within their components. This reduces battery capacity over time, making energy storage solutions less effective and the financial investment less valuable.

 

Zero Degradation, Infinite Possibilities with CATL’s TENER System

CATL claims its grid-scale energy storage system, TENER, experiences zero degradation in capacity or power output over its first five years of operation. This is achieved through a biomimetic solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) and self-assembled electrolyte technologies. Biomimetic SEI mimics natural processes to create a protective layer on the surface of lithium-ion battery electrodes. This layer helps stabilize the interface between the electrolyte and the electrode, reducing degradation and improving the battery's performance and lifespan. This design facilitates the unhindered movement of lithium ions to prevent degradation. 

 

Features of TENER unveiled.

Features of TENER unveiled. Image used courtesy of CATL

 

TENER’s innovative design within a twenty-foot equivalent unit container enhances energy density and efficiency, representing a 30% increase in energy density per unit area as compared to competitive solutions. According to CATL, TENER can achieve an energy density of up to 430 Wh/L, providing a 20% decrease in the total station footprint. It offers 6.25 MWh of capacity, surpassing Tesla's Megapack in both capacity (3.9 MWh) and energy density. 

Equipped with cutting-edge cell technology and a dedicated quality management system, TENER also has reduced failure rates to the parts per billion level.

 

Shaping the Future of Clean Energy Grids

So far, TENER is the only energy storage solution that does not degrade for the first five years. By eliminating degradation and improving power density and reliability, TENER could represent a major step toward the energy storage industry’s goal of seamlessly integrating renewables into the modern grid.