KEPCO develops new large-capacity manganese secondary battery for ESS

To expand renewable energy, it is essential to build large-capacity energy storage systems that store electricity generated by power plants. Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) has developed a new large-capacity secondary battery that uses manganese oxides as a positive material to reduce costs, reports Aju Business Daily.

Korea Electric Power Corporation, a state electricity company, better known as KEPCO or Hanjeon, is the largest electric utility in South Korea.

The newly-developed battery is more stable and cheaper than large-capacity lithium-ion batteries that use intercalated lithium compound as a positive material. KEPCO said on Thursday that its new 20Ah-class secondary battery uses manganese dioxide as its positive electrode, making it ideal for storing power safely inside an energy storage system (ESS).

“KEPCO’s new secondary battery, which can reduce the cost of constructing an ESS to half, will help the expansion of renewable energy sources in South Korea by vitalizing the use of ESS,” a KEPCO official was quoted as saying.

Because the new battery cell uses manganese, the fifth abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, it costs about half of lithium-ion batteries. KEPCO said that if all of the lithium-ion battery cells in South Korea’s ESSs are replaced with the new manganese secondary batteries, a total of 25 billion won ($20 million) will be saved.

An ESS normally requires a minimum capacity of 20Ah for single-cell batteries. Battery cells are linked in packs to be fitted into the energy storage. A 20Ah battery cell has a power output of 2,400 watts, which is enough to operate a stove or a refrigerator for an hour.

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