Kokam Co., Ltd.

30-78 1220 beongil Gyeonsu-Daero, Jangan-Gu, 16201 Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-Do
Korea, Republic

Telephone +82-31-3620-100
Fax +82-31-3620-190
battery@kokam.com

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Energy Storage Europe 2017 hall map (Hall 8b): stand B19

Fairground map

Energy Storage Europe 2017 fairground map: Hall 8b

Our range of products

Product categories

  • 02  Electrochemical Energy Storage
  • 02.01  Batteries
  • 02.01.04  Li-Ion Batteries

Li-Ion Batteries

  • 06  Storage Systems
  • 06.01  Stationary Grid-Connected Systems

Stationary Grid-Connected Systems

  • 06  Storage Systems
  • 06.01  Stationary Grid-Connected Systems
  • 06.01.01  Storage for Single Family Homes and Multifamily Homes

Storage for Single Family Homes and Multifamily Homes

  • 06  Storage Systems
  • 06.01  Stationary Grid-Connected Systems
  • 06.01.02  Storage for Integration into Distribution Networks

Storage for Integration into Distribution Networks

  • 06  Storage Systems
  • 06.02  Off-Grid Systems

Off-Grid Systems

  • 06  Storage Systems
  • 06.03  Mobile Storage Systems

Mobile Storage Systems

Company news

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Jan 23, 2017

Battery Storage: A Clean Alternative for Frequency Regulation

Grid-level battery storage serves many purposes: it smooths out the fluctuations from renewable energy sources, reduces the need for "peaker" plants, and provides short-term emergency backup power. One benefit that doesn't get as much press, but is equally important, is frequency regulation: maintaining the constant 60 Hz (US) and 50 Hz (non-US) frequency that our machines depend on. Minus the fanfare that accompanies announcements from Tesla, battery manufacturer Kokam is quietly building the world's largest Lithium NMC battery storage system whose primary purpose is frequency regulation. We'll take a look at it, but first a little background...

Frequency Regulation
I have a little demonstration set up in the lab where it teach. It's a hand-crank generator powering a motor that spins a fan. It's pretty easy to turn the crank and make the fan go, until I flip a switch that puts an incandescent light bulb in parallel with the fan motor. As you can probably guess, the additional load causes a slight drop in the generator's output voltage. What's less intuitive, however, is that it becomes very difficult to turn the crank. The extra load causes the generator to literally slow down. Since a generator's frequency is proportional to its rotational speed, the output frequency also decreases.

What I just described is the principle behind regenerative braking in a car, where charging the battery becomes the additional load. But a feature in one application (electric vehicles) turns out to be a flaw in power generation systems. We want the car to slow down when we apply the brakes, but we don't want the grid's frequency to change when a new load is added. Synchronous AC motors and many timing circuits depend on that frequency being solid; any variation could cause machines to malfunction or shut down, hence the need to regulate the grid's frequency.

Traditionally, generators ramp up their output to compensate for the dip in frequency. For rotating machines, this usually entails burning more fuel. The traditional approach has three problems: first, it's slow to respond, often taking several minutes to make a correction; second, it sometimes overcompensates, causing the frequency to go above its nominal value; and third, it wastes fuel. Modern grid operators are now looking to energy storage systems - flywheels, supercapacitors, and batteries - to take on the job of frequency regulation. Their advantages are threefold: faster response time, more precise control over frequency, and fuel savings.

500 Megawatts of Frequency Regulating Power
Between August 2015 and January 2016, Kokam has brought 56 megawatts (20 MWh) of batteries online in South Korea, for the sole purpose of frequency regulation. But the work doesn't stop there; by the end of 2017, South Korea expects to increase that number to 500 MW. South Korea's largest utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), says that the energy storage system (ESS) will cut its fuel expenditures by $13M per year. Over the life of the ESS, the savings will add up to more than triple the purchase price - a pretty nice return on investment for the utility. Moreover, the ESS will provide better frequency regulation and decrease wear and tear on the generators. Finally, the added storage and frequency regulation will pave the way for more renewable energy on the grid.

Ultra High Power NMC Batteries
Kokam's energy storage systems are built around its patented Ultra High Power Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) battery technology, a variation of Li-ion chemistry. NMC batteries can be optimized to deliver either high power density or high energy density. For frequency regulation, power density is the choice. According to Ike Hong, VP of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division, "Though Kokam’s Ultra High Power NMC battery technology is optimized for power density, it also delivers strong energy density performance. For example, Kokam’s 75 Ah Ultra High Power NMC Cell features exceptional energy density of 153 Wh/kg and 337 Wh/L. Yet it manages to combine this energy density with discharge power capacity up to 15 C-rate of original capacity."

I asked Mr. Hong what differentiates its Ultra High Power NMC batteries from others with similar chemistry. Here's his response:

"Kokam’s Ultra High Power battery technology features several technological innovations, including:

A surface treatment that is applied to the cathode to improve high power performance. This surface treatment improves Lithium dispersion, which minimizes electron and ion transfer resistance, enhancing the battery’s power density and lengthening its life (10,000 cycles, compared to 3,000 - 5,000 cycles for standard NMC technologies).

A Z-Folding design which minimizes internal resistance, (50% lower internal resistance than other battery technologies) resulting in less energy loss.

A pouch type cell structure, rather than a prismatic cell structure. A pouch type cell structure is more effective in letting out heat, resulting in a heat dissipation rate that is 1.6 times better than standard NMC technologies. This enables Ultra High Power NMC batteries to be used at a higher rate for longer periods of time with no degradation in battery life or performance."

Kokam's contract with KEPCO won't allow the company to reveal the cost per kWh of storage, but Mr. Hong told me that the cost is on par with its competitors' NMC technology.

Keeping It Cool
Kokam's energy storage systems are enclosed in a 40 foot (12 m) container. A unique direct cooling system (shown below) regulates only the rack temperatures rather than cooling the entire container. According to Kokam, direct cooling requires 70% less HVAC energy than ambient cooling in a similar container.

More Applications Leads to Lower Cost
Energy storage is the limiting factor in renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and microgrids. As batteries are used in more applications, we'll see a steady decrease in their cost and a gradual increase in performance. That's good news for industry and consumers alike. 

A note to aspiring engineers: if you're into chemistry, think about pursuing battery technology!

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Jan 23, 2017

Kokams 56 Megawatt Energy Storage Project Features Worlds Largest Lithium NMC Energy Storage System for Frequency Regulation

New 24 and 16 megawatt energy storage systems use Kokam’s Ultra High Power Lithium-ion NMC technology to cost effectively deliver high power output, fast recharging and long cycle life to Korea Electric Power Corporation


Seoul, South Korea (March 8, 2016) – Kokam Co., Ltd, the world’s premier provider of innovative battery solutions, today announced that it has successfully deployed two Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Oxide Energy Storage Systems (ESSs) – a 24 megawatt (MW) system / 9 megawatt hour (MWh) and a 16 MW / 6 MWh system – for frequency regulation on the South Korean electricity grid. The 24 MW system is the largest capacity Lithium NMC ESS used for frequency regulation in the world.

Operational since January 2016, the two new systems, along with a Kokam 16MW / 5MWh Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) ESS system deployed in August 2015, provide South Korea's largest utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) [NYSE: KEP], with 56 MW of energy storage capacity for frequency regulation. These three systems are part of the world’s largest ESS frequency regulation project, which is scheduled to have deployed 500 MW of battery-based energy storage when it is completed in 2017.

In addition to improving grid reliability, the Kokam ESSs will enable KEPCO to improve its operation efficiency by reducing its need for spinning power generation reserves. This will allow KEPCO to shift energy generation to lower cost, more efficient power plants and decrease “wear and tear” on all its power plants. For example, the three Kokam ESSs will deliver an estimated annual savings of US$39 million in fuel costs, providing fuel cost savings five times larger than the ESSs’ purchase price over the systems’ lifetimes. In addition, by reducing the amount of fossil fuels burnt for frequency regulation, the Kokam ESSs will help reduce KEPCO’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Kokam specializes in the development of advanced battery technologies for the world’s most demanding Energy Storage System applications, including frequency regulation, which needs systems that deliver high power, fast recharge rates and long cycle lives,” said Ike Hong, vice president of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division. “Our Energy Storage Systems provide KEPCO with the performance it needs to precisely and cost-effectively regulate frequency on the South Korean grid, helping it ensure the stability of this grid, improve its operational efficiency and lower its greenhouse gas emissions.”

"In the U.S. and Europe, Kokam has already garnered recognit-ion for its exceptional Lithium Ion battery technology. Against stiff competition during the KEPCO frequency regulation project procurement process, Kokam proved its competitiveness after a comprehensive economical and technical analysis,” said Hwang Woohyun, Ph.D, KEPCO's senior vice president, head of Innovative Energy Business Division. “Kokam’s 56 MW of Energy Storage Systems are making a major contribution to the stabilization of our grid, and we hope to continue to cooperate with Kokam to develop energy storage projects that improve grid reliability, lower our operational costs and reduce our environmental impact."

Ultra High Power NMC Battery Technology

The new 24 MW and 16 MW Lithium NMC ESSs utilize Kokam’s innovative Ultra High Power NMC battery technology. Designed for high power energy storage applications, such as frequency regulation, wind or large solar power system ramp rate control, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and voltage support, Kokam’s Ultra High Power NMC battery technology delivers:

  • Higher energy density: This higher density enables 2.4 MWh of energy storage to be installed in a 40 foot container, compared to 1~1.5MWh of energy storage for standard NMC batteries. 
  • High power cycle life: Ultra High Power NMC batteries can last up to 10,000 cycles, compared to 3,000 - 5,000 cycles for standard NMC technologies, increasing an energy storage system’s expected life. 
  • Better charge, discharge and max power rates: Ultra High Power NMC battery technology has charge, discharge and max power rates of 4C, 8C and 15C, compared to 2C, 3C and 4C for competitors. This enables Ultra High Power NMC systems to receive and dispatch more power when needed. 
Improved heat dissipation: With a heat dissipation rate that is 1.6 times better than standard NMC technologies, Ultra High Power NMC batteries can be used at a higher rate for longer periods of time with no degradation in battery life or performance.

The systems also use Kokam’s KCE 40 foot container, which features a direct cooling design, in which the container’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system only regulates temperatures inside the system’s racks rather than the entire container. This results in 70 percent less air-conditioning auxiliary load than standard containers.

“With some of the most innovative battery and other energy storage technologies on the market, 26 years of lithium-ion battery system manufacturing experience and 95 MW of energy storage system capacity in operation around the world, Kokam has positioned itself as a leader in the rapidly growing energy storage system market,” said Hong. “For applications such as frequency regulation, renewable energy smoothing, transmission and distribution investment deferral, demand response and peak load shaving, Kokam provides customers with advanced battery and other energy storage systems technologies that deliver superior performance at a competitive price.”

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About us

Company details

With a globally acknowledged and proprietary manufacturing technology, Kokam Co., Ltd has provided Lithium Ion/Polymer battery solutions to customers in over 50 countries and many different industries, including the military, aerospace, marine, EV and ESS with 150 patents and a total of 650MWh of field performance.

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