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Dragon Q Energy is developing a cell to pack housing design that can be applied to both Li-ion and NiMH chemistries, offering a diverse supply chain for stationary energy storage applications. Normally, individual battery cells are strung together in series (to boost voltage) and parallel (to boost current) to the specifications of a particular application, forming modules of many cells which are then wired together to form even larger packs. EVs have dominated the design space for battery pack design, where flat, lightweight packs are needed to fit into the vehicle chassis. This requires many welds, tabs, and ancillary wiring to form the necessary connections, driving cost and complexity. Finally, these systems require cooling via indirect “jacket” cooling, which is lightweight but inefficient and expensive. 

 

Rather than repurposing electric vehicle module/pack designs for the grid,  DQE acknowledged that cost, safety, and durability can be improved dramatically by designing a system specifically for stationary applications. By utilizing a series of vertically stacked plates (with cells in between) in a cylindrical housing, we can form low resistance, weld free connections in both parallel and series configurations to bridge cells directly to the pack level in a simple, low cost manner. The sealed, pressure vessel like design of the container also enables enhanced thermal management, safety, and performance features for both Li-ion and NiMH cell chemistries. Specifically, the container enables simple, low cost cooling via direct immersion in cooling fluid (such as mineral oil or 3M™ Novec™ 7100 cooling fluid). Direct immersion cooling (while heavy and not appropriate for EVs), is low cost and prevents fire propagation, providing critical safety improvements needed for grid scale BESS utilizing Li-ion cells. For NiMH applications, the hermetic nature of the housing can be used to contain pressurized Argon gas, as this has been shown to double cycle life for this chemistry. Importantly, NiMH cells are intrinsically non-flammable (they utilize a water based electrolyte), are low cost compared to Li-ion, and will diversify the BESS supply chain. Creating a practical BESS housing for this established cell chemistry will have a huge impact, especially in extreme environments where safety and thermal management are particularly critical.  

Technology

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