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Batteries

LS Electric develops battery temperature sensor for ESS

Su-Bin Lee Sep 28, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

LS Electric Co., a South Korean electric power and automation equipment maker, has developed a battery cell temperature sensor (BTS) that can monitor overheating, a key cause of fire in energy storage systems (ESS).

LS Electric said in a statement on Sept. 28 that the newly developed sensor detects a change in temperature in the battery cells of an ESS, unlike other ESS temperature sensors that usually monitor the overheating situation in racks, or a complete stack of lithium-ion battery cell modules.

“From the very basic cell level, our product can monitor the change in temperature, thus pinpointing the exact cause of ESS overheating. This method also helps reduce costs by replacing only the problematic cells, without removing the entire cell module,” the company said.

When the temperature of the lithium-ion battery in energy storage systems rises above 40 degrees Celsius, the battery starts malfunctioning and inflates from 60 degrees, and becomes gaseous from 150 degrees. If the gaseous conditions last for more than half an hour, the battery either catches fire or explodes. An ESS with an inflated battery becomes useless.
ESS battery temperature monitoring sensor (BTS) developed by LS Electric Co.
LS Electric, formerly known as LS Industrial Systems Co., said its BTS equipment, when connected to an ESS, begins to monitor temperatures in real time from 25 degrees, the optimal temperature to run the energy storage system. If the temperature rises to 40 degrees, an alarm goes off and the sensor starts to cool the ESS  or forcibly stops the system to protect battery cells and modules from overheating.

“The government recommends ESS operators limit battery output capacity below 80% to prevent fires, but with our sensors, they can safely raise the capacity to the 90% level,” LS said.

DOMESTIC ESS MARKET SLUMPS DUE TO FIRES

An ESS stores power from solar panels or wind turbines for consumption later. It generally uses a large number of batteries connected together.

The domestic ESS market enjoyed rapid expansion in 2018 and 2019, driven by strong demand for peak energy-saving solutions and renewable energy integration. However, the local market slumped following a series of accidental ESS-related fires, which trigged government investigations into the cause of the fires.

However, in developed overseas markets where renewable penetration is picking up, the ESS market has been growing at a rapid clip. In California, ESS installation is mandatory for all utility operators.

South Korea’s two leading rechargeable battery makers -- LG Chem Ltd. and Samsung SDI Co. -- are also leaders in the global ESS market.

Write to Su-Bin Lee at lsb@hankyung.com

Edited by In-Soo Nam

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