How IEEE’s Energy Storage Documents Help Users Choose the Best Battery

November 22, 2021

Energy storage technology has come a long way since the days of watermills and the first rechargeable battery. We now have a wide range of battery technologies to choose from, including lithium-ion, sodium-beta, lead-acid, nickel-zinc and others.

As the number of options on the market continues to grow, choosing the storage technology that is best suited for your particular application has major impacts on cost, energy efficiency and safety. The modern grid, data centers and smart devices all share the need for reliable energy storage solutions, and so also share the need for guidance on which technology is the best fit.

That’s why the Energy Storage and Stationary Battery (ESSB) Committee, which is part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power and Energy Society (PES), provides the industry with the most comprehensive guides, recommended practices, and standards for the major categories of stationary energy storage technology. IEEE’s 1679 document family helps users, integrators and servicing organizations compare traditional stationary battery technologies with newer, advanced technologies, helping to guide the user in the selection of the best battery type for their needs.

The Parent Document for Energy Storage Comparisons: IEEE 1679-2020

Originally published in 2010 and updated in 2020, IEEE 1679-2020: Recommended Practice for the Characterization and Evaluation of Energy Storage Technologies in Stationary Applications provides a foundation to objectively evaluate and compare different available energy storage technologies. These publications lead battery storage buyers through data and decisions to help them understand key principles and make prudent decisions according to the performance envelope of an energy storage product. Such data includes, but is not limited to:

  • Evaluation techniques
  • Description and characterization of the technologies
  • Qualification testing
  • Applications

IEEE 1679-2020 is an overarching “parent” document: it is a Recommended Practice document and must be used to properly utilize the following “child” documents, each of which provides information and guidance for a specific energy storage technology or family of technologies.

IEEE 1679’s Children

Each of the IEEE 1679 child documents are Guide documents. They are frameworks for developers and manufacturers to describe their products to provide standardized, objective criteria for buyers. The four child documents include two published guides, one each for lithium and sodium-beta battery technologies in stationary applications. Two other energy storage technologies, flow and alkaline batteries, have draft guides under development.

Each guide helps buyers understand and compare a storage technology by including the technology’s:

  • Intended applications
  • Aging mechanisms and failure modes
  • Testing for abuse tolerance and fault tolerance

Evaluation techniques:

  •  Application considerations
  •  Safety
  •  Life-cycle costs

Each guide also includes its subject’s unique needs and strengths. For example, the sodium-beta battery guide addresses those batteries’ high-temperature design and need for specific control systems. The flow battery guide explains flow batteries’ unusual ability to grow energy storage capacity without affecting the power rating.

Where do ZincFive’s nickel-zinc batteries fit in? Our product type is covered in the alkaline battery draft, which addresses zinc-based and alkaline electrochemistries other than nickel-cadmium (which the IEEE has already documented). This guide includes nickel-iron, nickel-zinc, nickel-metal hydride, and zinc-manganese technologies. Guidance on nickel-zinc batteries can prove especially useful for those in the data center, intelligent transportation system and other standby uninterruptible power supply industries.

Is the Family Expecting an Addition? Several, hopefully!

Currently, all energy storage technologies documented in the IEEE 1679 family are electrochemical. As other energy storage products (e.g. supercapacitors, flywheels, “gravity”-based devices besides pumped hydro, and other battery technologies) are commercialized and begin to be deployed in higher numbers, we can look forward to potential child documents for them as well.

For now, if you’re considering an energy storage purchase for stationary applications, IEEE 1679-2020 and its children are an invaluable tool to help you effectively evaluate which technology is the best choice for you.

Dan Lambert
Dan Lambert
Senior Product Manager, ZincFive
Dan has over 40 years of commercial and industrial electrical experience and has worked with AC and DC power systems, with a primary focus on mission-critical power systems. Working with stationary battery systems since 1985, Dan has worked with many battery chemistries and has contributed to large scale energy storage analysis projects, as well as testing other storage systems. Dan is currently a member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society serving as the chairperson for the IEEE Energy Storage and Stationary Battery Committee’s IEEE 1679.4 Alkaline Chemistries Working Group and is a member of the Battcon conference Technical Committee.
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