A new study has compared the projected lifetime costs for nine energy storage technologies – and finds lithium-ion will annihilate the competition in most applications.

Stationary storage systems are big batteries often designed to store excess power from the power grid, including from renewable sources, for use during expensive peak demand periods.

It also includes residential and industrial ‘behind the meter’ systems.

While the EV space is firmly dominated by lithium-ion, stationary storage is considered more diverse – it also includes things like pumped hydro, vanadium flow batteries (VRFBs), and hydrogen energy storage, amongst others.

But according to the London-based writers of ‘Projecting the Future Levelized Cost of Electricity Storage Technologies’, specialised technologies are unlikely to compete with lithium ion on cost, apart from in long discharge applications.

When it comes to alternatives, “performance advantages do not outweigh the pace of lithium-ion cost reductions,” the authors say.

In fact, they reckon investments in alternative technologies could be pointless unless significant performance improvements are made.


The cheapest energy storage mechanism right now is pumped hydro.

But pumped hydro costs will not decrease with time, unlike lithium-ion battery tech, making lithium-ion the winner of the stationary storage cheapstakes from 2030.

Here’s the chart:

And the lead author wasn’t even a ‘lithium-ion for storage applications’ fan prior to the study, according to Science Daily.

“Personally, I was always quite sceptical toward lithium-ion storage for stationary applications, but when it comes to the levelized cost of storage — investment, operation and charging cost, technology lifetime, efficiency and performance degradation — lithium-ion combines decreasing cost with sufficient performance to dominate the majority of power system applications,” Oliver Schmidt, a PhD researcher at Imperial and founder of Storage Lab says.

“I would have expected others to outperform in certain applications.”