5G commercialization is getting closer and closer, and base station construction will drive demand for LiFePO4 batteries above 155GWh. 5G commercialization is getting closer and closer, and the entire industry chain is actively operating to meet new technical standards. The data show that in the past three years, the domestic network operation and support costs have increased by an average annual rate of more than 10%, of which energy consumption accounts for about 12%.
In the case of such a large increase in operation and maintenance costs, the state requires reduction of capital charges, so operation and maintenance costs have become a key development point. In 2018, China Tower has stopped the procurement of lead-acid batteries, and unified procurement of grade-utilized batteries. As the construction of 5G base stations accelerates, the demand for energy storage LiFePO4 batteries will increase significantly.
According to the plan, China Telecom and China Unicom's 5G base stations will be more than twice the current number of 4G base stations, and China Mobile will be more than 4 times the current number. According to the 2018 annual reports of various operators, it is estimated that a total of at least 14.38 million base stations in China need to be built or rebuilt.
In addition, as the energy consumption of 5G base stations has increased significantly, it means that 14.38 million sets of backup energy systems need to be improved. According to the calculation of 5GC-band single station power consumption of 2700W and emergency 4h, the market has at least 155GWh battery accommodation space. In order to ensure the stable use of 5G communication equipment, the macro base station reserves 3-4h of energy storage power, and the power supply voltage is 48V. Large-scale construction has directly driven the demand for energy storage batteries. Compared with lead-acid batteries, it can be seen that the advantages of LiFePO4 batteries in 5G communication base stations are more obvious, and the future application prospects are broader.
Compared with ladder LiFePO4 batteries, lead batteries have the disadvantages of short service life, low performance, and heavy lead contained in heavy metals. Although the current price of LiFePO4 batteries is still higher than that of lead batteries, its charge and discharge times, service life, and volume and weight advantages can make up for the shortcomings of high prices, and the comprehensive use cost is better than lead batteries.
Iron Tower has stopped purchasing lead-acid battery base station power supplies in 2018 and has instead uniformly purchased ladder LiFePO4 batteries. According to the plan of the Tower Company, in 2019 it will continue to expand the scale of the use of LiFePO4 batteries. It is expected to replace 150,000 tons of lead batteries and digest more than 50,000 tons of decommissioned power batteries. Although the base station power supply field is the demand side of traditional lead-acid batteries, due to the directional change of national policies, the growth rate in this field will shift to the use of lithium elevators. Although the base station power supply data will accelerate with 5G investment, the statistical caliber cannot distinguish between lead storage batteries and lithium elevators. It is expected that with the gradual expansion of ladder-type LiFePO4 batteries and the requirements for environmentally friendly battery harmless treatment, the application of lead batteries in base stations will continue to shrink.
In short, it is expected that with the retirement of large-scale lithium electric power batteries and the accumulation of experience, ladder lithium batteries will completely replace lead storage batteries in areas such as base stations and backup power sources that require lower battery performance. 5G communication base stations will drive the growth of LiFePO4 battery energy storage industry!
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