Editorial Feature

What Are Stackable Batteries?

Significant attention has been drawn to modular/stacking battery systems that enable several batteries to concurrently power multiple electrical gadgets. These batteries are a sophisticated energy technology that may be linked in parallel or series to improve capacity or voltage. They are commonly utilized for equipment that requires a high amount of voltage to function.

stackable batteries, what are stackable batteries

Image Credit: Black_Kira/Shutterstock.com

What are Stackable Batteries? 

Stackable batteries are unique in the way that they may be readily joined or separated to meet the demands of a certain application. They are a relatively novel technology but are already widely used in a variety of industries such as electric cars, backup power grids, and portable energy systems.

These new portable power stations are customizable and more cost-effective to administer than fuel-driven and battery-driven generators with predetermined capabilities due to their modular architecture, which enables the users to add more batteries to enhance each unit's storage capacity and power output.

The Need for Stacking Batteries

For many years, petrol and diesel generators have been employed for a wide range of purposes, from powering machinery and tools on building sites to energizing the platforms of outdoor festivals. In 2021, the combined global business and residential industry for portable generators (including devices with capacities of less than 5 kilowatts (kW), 5 to 10 kW, and 10 to 20 kW) was valued at $1.8 billion.

However, the acquisition pricing of these units might be deceiving, as they do not include ongoing expenses such as fuel, routine maintenance, and repairs. In addition, traditional fuel generators have limited capacity. Importantly, traditional generators were loud, polluting, and possibly dangerous to human health and the environment.

Before 1991, when lithium-ion batteries were introduced, battery-powered portable power generators were not competitively viable. Although sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries, such as those found in the majority of cars, are less costly than lithium-ion batteries, SLA battery packs are not an appropriate technology for portable generators. They are nine times heavier and have a smaller carrying capacity. At the end of their lifespan (often 3 to 5 years), SLA batteries can no longer properly store a charge and must be replaced.

Hence, all these factors necessitate the need for novel technology.

Advantages of Stackable Batteries

Portable power stations that are stackable and scalable provide users with a greater degree of safety and independence. They are very adaptable and may be quickly tweaked to accommodate the special requirements of a given application. The efficiency of such batteries is unmatched and can offer steady and dependable electricity.

 Unlike fuel generators, stacking battery power stations allow customers to recharge their devices without transporting or storing dangerous substances. The freedom to run power plants in enclosed areas without disturbance and hazardous pollutants is another major advantage over its traditional counterparts.

Major Challenges

Despite the numerous benefits of stackable batteries, certain obstacles must be overcome. The expense of stacking batteries is a primary concern. While the price of batteries has decreased over time, stacking batteries are still more expensive than regular batteries.

Their susceptibility to humidity and other environmental conditions also affects their effectiveness and shortens their lifespan. In addition, they require comprehensive system administration to ensure safety and efficient functioning.

Design Phases of a Portable Stackable Battery

The stackable, modular, portable battery enables simple manipulation of the cells encapsulated in the battery pack. The battery has a Cell Module Controller (CMC) device, which also functions as a battery's thermal monitor. The CMC is responsible for the majority of battery pack functions.

Mechanical planning and module fabrication constitute the initial phase. It determines the active parts of the cell as well as its dimensions and shape. In the subsequent phase, the precise exterior parameters of the module are determined. Geometry defining is a crucial step in securing the various components of a battery pack. All elements, including the frame, heatsinks, thermal paste, and mechanical absorber, are tested and repaired. In the final step, module specifics and the Battery Management System are modeled.

Major Stackable Battery Products

Ultralife Corporation has introduced a lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePo4) energy storage device for use in robots, advanced robotics, military portable power systems, and vehicle-mounted APUs. The new battery, designated URB0023, has a container layout that permits more mobility throughout operations. The URB0023 comprises a lifespan exceeding 2000 cycles, surpassing the lifetime cycle of existing stacked battery systems by around 200 cycles.

Joule Case has launched a new range of "clean and green" portable power stations in the 1- to 5-kW market category. Powered by stackable lithium-ion "energy blocks," these modular power stations produce emission-free, noiseless electricity whenever and wherever it is required.

BSL Battery has been a major contributor and manufacturer of High Voltage Storage Stackable LiFePo4 Batteries. Their novel 10-35 kWh BSLBATT HV Storage B-BOXHEV equipped with a distinct engineered system allows for simple connection, saving installers precious time. The stacking system offers versatile combinations ranging in voltage from 204.8V to 614.4V and capacity from 10.24kWh to 30.72kWh.

Another company, The Stack'd Series LFP batteries from Lithion are stackable and may be scaled from 9.6 kWh to 38.4 kWh in 4.8 kWh increments. Lithion's modular designs provide a "drop-in" replacement for lead acid batteries that is simple to adopt without the need for retooling. According to Lithion, this reduces procurement, stocking, and service expenses.

Research: Single-Cell and Stackable Battery Cells

An article published in Energy & Environmental Science focuses on the evaluation of the performance of a metal-free, stackable bipolar pouch battery using carbon black/ polyethylene composite film (CBPE) current collectors. Researchers examined both single and stacked bipolar pouch cells (stacked CBPE pouch) to compare their performance.

Using the ZnBr2/TBABr chemistry, a bipolar pouch composed of four cells stacked in series was created from the individual pouch cells. Even though the dimensioned, stacked system was more sophisticated than individual cells, specific energy remained unchanged and long-term cycling demonstrated minimal capacity degradation over 1000 cycles with 100 mAhg-1 capacity and an extra 500 cycles with 150 mAhg-1 capacity.

The stacked ZnBr2 system's steady cycling was important because it demonstrated that the battery cells in the bipolar stacked layout remained balanced, maintaining distinct cell voltage levels and outputs roughly matched and within safe values.

The researchers concluded that when thinner, sturdier, and more conductive carbon/polymer composite films are manufactured, battery cell performance might be improved readily. The results show a theoretically novel cell design that is widely applicable to numerous aqueous electrolyte compositions, as well as a specific high-performance instance.

Future Trends

Allied Market Research has published a report stating that the worldwide portable battery market was worth $10.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $27.5 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 10.4% from 2021 to 2030. Stackable batteries are the core of the portable battery industry hence, their market is expected to rise exponentially.

The increasing trend of utilizing electric cars is one of the key drivers of this rise. To power the electric motor and give a range of more than 300 miles on a single charge, electric cars require efficient, high-performance batteries. Stackable batteries are an excellent choice for this purpose since they can be readily linked together to enhance the overall capability of the battery system.

The interest in alternative energy technologies, such as solar and wind power, is another important factor behind the development of stacking batteries. Renewable energy sources produce intermittent electricity, which may be stored using stackable batteries. Moreover, with the rising prevalence of smart grids and microgrids, it is anticipated that stacking batteries will play a significant role in the incorporation of sustainable energy sources into the grid. They can also provide backup power sources in the event of grid breakdown or power outages.

In short, the domain of stackable batteries is currently starting to dominate the energy storage market and its prospects are highly promising.

More from AZoM: How Can LiFSI Lithium Salts Reduce Battery Flammability?

References and Further Reading

Allied Marketing Research, 2022. Portable Battery Market by Technology. [Online]
Available at: https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/portable-battery-market
[Accessed 15 January 2023].

Evanko, B. et. al. (2018). Stackable bipolar pouch cells with corrosion-resistant current collectors enable high-power aqueous electrochemical energy storage. Energy & Environmental Science, 11(10), 2865-2875. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1039/c8ee00546j

Baker, J., 2022. The Future of Energy: Facing the "New Normal". [Online]
Available at: https://joulecase.com/the-future-of-energy-facing-the-new-normal/
[Accessed 16 January 2023].

Baker, J., 2022. The Latest Generation Of Stackable Battery Power Stations Is Not Only Green But More Economical. [Online]
Available at: https://joulecase.com/the-latest-generation-of-stackable-battery-power-stations-is-not-only-green-but-more-economical-2/
[Accessed 15 January 2023].

BSL Batteries, 2023. High Voltage Storage Stackable LiFePo4 Battery. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bsl-battery.com/hign-voltage-storage-stackable-battery-home-solar-system.html
[Accessed 17 January 2023].

Kennedy, R., 2022. Stackable home battery with 9.6 kWh to 38.4 kWh of capacity. [Online]
Available at: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2022/05/05/stackable-home-battery-with-9-6-kwh-to-38-4-kwh-of-capacity/
[Accessed 15 January 2023].

Large, 2020. Modular Battery- Definition, Design And Usage. [Online]
Available at: https://www.large.net/news/8nu43pb.html
[Accessed 15 January 2023].

Lynn, A., 2019. Stackable battery redefines portable power. [Online]
Available at: https://www.electronicspecifier.com/products/power/stackable-battery-redefines-portable-power
[Accessed 16 January 2023].

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ibtisam Abbasi

Written by

Ibtisam Abbasi

Ibtisam graduated from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. During his academic career, he has worked on several research projects and has successfully managed several co-curricular events such as the International World Space Week and the International Conference on Aerospace Engineering. Having won an English prose competition during his undergraduate degree, Ibtisam has always been keenly interested in research, writing, and editing. Soon after his graduation, he joined AzoNetwork as a freelancer to sharpen his skills. Ibtisam loves to travel, especially visiting the countryside. He has always been a sports fan and loves to watch tennis, soccer, and cricket. Born in Pakistan, Ibtisam one day hopes to travel all over the world.


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