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Opportunities and Challenges for Li ion Batteries

May.21.2020 240

The demand among 5G base stations for energy storage batteries provides the entire energy storage industry an excellent opportunity for development.  At a recent CNESA salon on 5G, Zhang Xin of East Group Co. expressed that establishing a 5G network requires many changes to the energy system. Aside from peak shaving strategies, efforts must also be made to prepare for increased system stability requirements.  Whether using a UPS to keep important devices powered on, or supporting energy intensive equipment during peak periods, energy storage can help to increase stability and increase the quality of the power supply.  In remote areas where the supply of grid electricity can be unreliable, energy storage is also a valuable supporting tool.

Of course, for the energy storage industry, 5G presents both challenges and opportunities. One example is battery safety.  As Li Gang of Svolt expressed, 5G telecom stations have an electricity use rate 2-3 times that of 4G stations, and backup power requirements at least double that of 4G. High quality-to-price ratio second-life batteries are an obvious choice as a backup power supply source for 5G stations, yet in recent years safety concerns regarding battery energy storage have become more apparent.  Second-life batteries must place safety as priority.  Narada Power Assistant Chief Engineer Li Bingwen expressed that the industry must emphasize the safety of 5G energy storage, noting that all safety issues will be preceded by indicators which the BMS must be able to detect and react to by immediately isolating any problematic batteries before the possibility of fires or thermal runaway.

During the forum, China Mobile Communications Design Institute Co. Research Consulting Director Li Yusheng commented on the problems facing energy storage batteries, stating that four requirements must be met when designing power sources for 5G stations.  First, multiple energy sources should be used, thereby strengthening the ability to provide stable electricity. Second, intelligent operations and maintenance, thereby increasing operations efficiency.  Third, digitalization of power for high density and efficiency.  Fourth, “intelligentization” of batteries to derive maximum value from the full battery life cycle.  Guo Qiming of Sacred Sun Co. also provided suggestions for 5G power sources, stating that what is first needed is LiFePo batteries that are highly safe, have high specific energy, small size, light weight, long lifespan, and a “smart” design.  Second is the introduction of “blade power supplies” to save space and provide low-cost, reliable operations.

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