The Economic End of Life of Electrochemical Energy Storage

Guannan He, Rebecca Ciez, Panayiotis Moutis, Soummya Kar, Jay F. Whitacre

The useful life of electrochemical energy storage (EES) is a critical factor to EES planning, operation, and economic assessment. Today, systems commonly assume a physical end-of-life criterion, retiring EES when the remaining capacity reaches a threshold below which the EES is of little use because of functionality degradation. Here, we propose an economic end of life criterion, where EES is retired when it cannot earn positive net economic benefit in its intended application. This criterion depends on the use case and degradation characteristics of the EES, but is independent of initial capital cost. Using an intertemporal operational framework to consider functionality and profitability degradation, our case study shows that the economic end of life could occur significantly faster than the physical end of life. We argue that both criteria should be applied in EES system planning and assessment. We also analyze how R&D efforts should consider cycling capability and calendar degradation rate when considering the economic end-of-life of EES.

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