DNV identifies CATL, Narada batteries as top performers


Many stationary storage products have been commercially available for less than five years, which makes it challenging for project owners and developers to select suitable technology suppliers. In the latest edition of its scorecard, DNV evaluated 19 battery cell types and found that lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from Chinese manufacturers CATL and Narada were the top performers for stationary energy storage applications.

CATL and Narada were among few manufacturers that took part in the testing and allowed their names to be publicly disclosed, while others preferred to stay anonymous. The two battery makers emerged as the top performers within the “less than two-hour grid support” and “four-hour solar shifting” categories.

CATL also topped DNV’s table of top 10 battery cell manufacturers by production volume for 2022, with 132 GWh of total cell production. It overtook South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, which came in second with 93.9 GWh, followed by Panasonic with 60.1 GWh.

DNV said that the results include all battery cells produced across EV and stationary energy storage systems. It noted that most battery cell manufacturers have more than 90% of their cells going to EVs, with only a few notable exceptions. Its latest scorecard also includes recommendations that projects developers and owners should take into consideration when evaluating and selecting vendors within the energy storage market. It highlights four criteria:

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  • Start with the cell – Battery energy storage systems all have battery cells as their core component. This dictates performance, safety, and cost. Find out who manufactures the cell (if different from the system integrator), and how long that cell has been in production.
  • Evaluate total deployments of cells and systems – Total deployments of the underlying battery cell and the integrated system are both good indicators of how reliable the product will be. There are often many bugs to work through after product launch. More experience in the field often leads to improved products.
  • Request the “bankability report” – Independent vetting of the integrated system is critical to make an informed decision. Battery manufacturers should have bankability reports on their products and should be excited to share these with potential customers to prove their commitment to transparency.
  • Request independent test data – Testing provides validation of each product’s design, operation, and safety. Independent testing verifies that the product will operate as specified without manufacturer intervention. DNV recommends requesting independent test data from all battery suppliers before making a purchasing decision to better understand the product and its impact on your energy storage project or EV application.

In addition, DNV’s 2022 scorecard points to some key features that are important to consider when comparing different battery cells. In terms of safety, these are the temperatures at which venting and thermal runaway occur.

While the results of the safety testing remained anonymous in this year’s scorecard, DNV noted that cells from different manufacturers and chemistries have demonstrated “vastly different” venting and thermal runaway onset temperatures. It noted that large differences between venting and runaway temperatures are desirable in battery cells. For instance, it found that an LFP cell showed high temperatures and around 150 C difference, whereas one sample of a nickel, manganese, and cobalt (NMC) cell and another LFP cell showed lower temperatures and almost no difference between venting and runaway.

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