Combined economic and technological evaluation of battery energy storage for grid applications


Batteries will play critical roles in modernizing energy grids, as they will allow a greater penetration of renewable energy and perform applications that better match supply with demand. Applying storage technology is a business decision that requires potential revenues to be accurately estimated to determine the economic viability, which requires models that consider market rules and prices, along with battery and application-specific constraints. Here we use models of storage connected to the California energy grid and show how the application-governed duty cycles (power profiles) of different applications affect different battery chemistries. We reveal critical trade-offs between battery chemistries and the applicability of energy content in the battery and show that accurate revenue measurement can only be achieved if a realistic battery operation in each application is considered. The findings in this work could call for a paradigm shift in how the true economic values of energy storage devices could be assessed.

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Fig. 1: California electricity transmission paths and the four applications examined.
Fig. 2: The model of a battery used in the economic modelling of the duty cycles.
Fig. 3: Preparatory electrochemical testing and Ragone data.
Fig. 4: Energy efficiencies of batteries performing the application-based duty cycles.
Fig. 5: The revenue versus the efficiency for the different application duty cycles.

Data availability

The data that support the plots and tables within this article, and the other findings of this study, are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request. Additionally, open source access to the duty cycles produced in this article is available at


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This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), the US Department of Energy under award no. DE-AR000520 as part of the Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage (CHARGES) program. The authors express their gratitude to B. Torre and A. Tong for their time and valuable discussions, especially with regards to the applicability of this study to larger-scale ESSs. The authors also thank T. Wynn, C. Rustomji and P. Parikh for their help in editing the manuscript.

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D.M.D., M.G.V., G.E. and Y.S.M. designed the study. O.M., Y.R.C. and G.E. developed the forecasting techniques and algorithms for the revenue calculations. All authors contributed to developing the duty cycles for the applications. D.M.D., M.G.V. and Y.S.M. developed the cell-level testing protocols. D.M.D., M.G.V. and R.R. performed the cell-level testing and D.M.D., M.G.V. and Y.S.M performed the subsequent data analysis. D.M.D., G.E. and Y.S.M. led the writing of the paper.

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Correspondence to Y. S. Meng or G. Elliott.

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Supplementary Figures 1–17, Supplementary Note 1

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Davies, D.M., Verde, M.G., Mnyshenko, O. et al. Combined economic and technological evaluation of battery energy storage for grid applications. Nat Energy 4, 42–50 (2019).

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