Energy storage and the need of "Batery Banks Gigafactories"
From any angle we are looking to the auto industry, the transportation, in general, has set sights on EVs and autonomous driving. Coupled with the adoption of a global renewable energy power generation, and together with smart grids respective micro-grids backed by powerful solid-state backup generators, this new ecosystem is demanding a massive battery manufacturing capacity.
The major players in the auto industry have set milestones for 2025 to deliver 25% of production in form of electric or hybrid electric cars, and by 2040 to cease the production of combustion engines altogether. That will trigger a boom in battery production and will sharpen the competition.
If battery storage still needs solar for growth, the auto industry is forging ahead and they are ready to open new Gigafactories and cover the growing demand. Is a win-win for renewable energy ecosystem: big manufacturer capacity will lower the battery price and the auto industry will bring technological solutions to the fast charging, respective will increase the energy density of the battery.
A look at the global picture of battery production
The main line comes via Auto News Europe. Ulrich Eichhorn, head of R&D for VW had made the comment to reporters that Volkswagen group alone would need 200 GWh of battery cell production by 2025 and the whole auto industry is in need of 40 Tesla Gigafactories. It would probably make sense for VW and other car manufacturers like Daimler Benz, BMW, GMC, to have own battery production if they aim for 25% of their sales to be electric.
Overall, Bloomberg reports that global battery-making capacity is set to more than double by 2021, topping 278 gigawatt-hours a year.
Asia, North America, and Europe will lead the charge
Some of the Gigafactories coming in production in the near future:
Chinese companies are poised to make a substantial impact on battery production in the future. Plans are in the works to set up factories in the country that would produce more than 120 gigawatt-hours a year by 2021.
Both LG Chem Ltd. and Samsung SDI Co. - South Korea’s two leading battery makers - are planning to set up manufacturing bases in Poland, and Hungary, to make inroads into the market of electric vehicles.
Stuttgart, Germany-based Bosch already supplies battery systems, including motors and inverters, to more than 30 projects by global vehicle manufacturers such as Porsche, Fiat, and BMW. Bosch is ready to bring a second-generation high-voltage Li-Ion system to market.
German industrial and automotive giants including BASF SE and BMW AG have been invited to a meeting in Brussels on Oct. 11 being led by the European Union’s top energy official, Maros Sefcovic, who has pledged as much as 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) for battery development.
Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and a group of companies that includes ThyssenKrupp AG have all started separate initiatives.
The U.S. lead-acid battery maker Johnson Controls unveiled proposals for two Chinese plants with a combined annual capacity of 13.5 million batteries. The company already has production capacity for 16 million batteries a year, from a factory in Chongqing and one in Zhejiang, and is looking invest $250 million in a new plant that could produce up to 7.5 million units a year in Shandong from 2019.
Energy Absolute, of Thailand, reportedly has plans for a $2.9 billion factory in Asia, with an annual production capacity of 1 gigawatt-hour per year, scaling to 50 gigawatt-hours a year by 2020.
A consortium with Boston Energy and Innovation (BEI), Charge CCCV, C&D Assembly, Primet Precision Materials and Magnis Resources confirmed it will build a 15-gigawatt-hour-a-year plant on IBM’s former Huron Campus manufacturing site in New York.
By 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Financing expects battery pack prices to fall to $73 per kilowatt-hour, down from a volume-weighted average of $200 to $250 per kilowatt-hour in 2017.