Lithium battery for low- and high-voltage storage

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Weco, a battery manufacturer based in the United Arab Emirates, claims its new lithium battery solution can operate in parallel as a low-voltage storage system or in series as a high-voltage battery, with no hardware changes.

The 5K3 LV/HV battery pack can work with both low- and high-voltage inverters thanks to a dual circuit and an embedded battery management system that operates without the need  for an additional battery management unit.

The battery can be deployed as a wall-mounted solution or in a stack configuration, and the systems are easy to install, thanks to a special enclosure, the manufacturer claims. “The internal components are protected by a sturdy steel case which can be wall mounted, self-standing on the floor, or stacked, giving the user the maximum flexibility,” Giorgio Tibolla, the company’s sales manager for EMEA, told pv magazine. “The battery module can be adapted to various kinds of spaces.”

Tibolla said the battery, when it must operate in low-voltage mode, can be connected in parallel to form a low-voltage system with up to 25 batteries, providing for a storage capacity of up to 130 kWh. In high-voltage mode, the storage systems be connected in series to form a cluster with a maximum voltage of 940 V (DC), with the clusters stacked in nine towers, providing a storage capacity of up to 620 kWh.

The company’s managing director, Donald Anderson, said the battery is compatible with around 25 different inverter protocols and can be connected automatically with most low-voltage and high-voltage hybrid inverters in the market.

Each battery unit has a storage capacity of  5.2 kWh, with overall dimensions of 450 mm by 510 by 155 mm and a weight of 50 kg. The lithium-ion system uses LiFePO4 as the cathode material and has an ambient operating temperature range of -20 C to 45 C.

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“The lithium cell technology inside the 5k3 LV/HV module uses WeCo’s optimized chemical composition to give the best performance and highest number of cycles,” Anderson stated.

Nanographene used in the chemical solution contributes to the stability and duration of the LiFeP04 chemistry used in the battery, the manufacturer claims.

Weco currently operates a production line in China, and will activate another production line in the third quarter at its facility in Florence, Italy. “The first batch will be sold in Italy and across Europe from July 2020, but from November the new 5K3 will be available also in U.S., Australia and South America,” Tibolla said.

Tibolla added that the price of the battery is in line with existing single-voltage devices. Its main advantage is that the same battery can be used for both domestic or industrial demand, and can be applied to both low- and high-voltage projects, he said. The systems also feature Wi-Fi connectivity to allow for real-time monitoring via WeCo’s proprietary app.

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