How do We Ensure We Have Safe Energy Storage Technology to Secure Our Clean Future? It Starts With Rigorous Battery Cell Testing

Powin Battery Labs


The success of your energy project depends on the performance and reliability of your system. It’s with this in mind that in 2020 we established the Powin Battery Lab in our engineering headquarters in Tualatin, Oregon. This is a world-class battery testing facility designed to help us characterize and validate batteries from cell to system.

The Powin Battery Lab is fully equipped with a range of essential resources such as facilities, testing tools, and a team of experts. This is how we ensure our technology is aligned with our business objectives and helps us improve performance guarantees, warranties, control algorithms, and product strategies.

Accelerating the growth of energy storage

As demand for reliable, safe, and cost-effective energy storage solutions grows, so does the need for rigorous testing. That’s why, since its inception, we have continued to upgrade our Lab to expand cell, module, and system testing capabilities.

This adds an important layer of transparency to understanding battery cell performance in an industry that typically relies on vendor self-reporting. As part of Powin’s process, we assist in selecting qualified cell vendors through on-site visits, reporting, and continuous, in-depth conversations and evaluations of existing technologies.

Experience Unparalleled Data-Driven Expertise 

The Powin Battery Lab team has half a century of combined experience in testing batteries in the US and around the world. Our lab has logged hundreds of thousands of channel hours in performance testing, as well as cell and module-level safety testing. This lab-collected data is supported by the data we collect every day by monitoring over 5 million battery cells that are in the field.

Powin batteries cells: Innovation you can trust

We’ve created a world-class battery data repository, so you know you’re integrating technology with reliable, long-lasting battery cells. As part of this data library, our Battery Lab performs technical evaluations of our battery cell vendors. These evaluations consist of factory audits, manufacturing capacity analysis, and cell and system performance testing.

You’re in good hands with our Battery Lab experts who:

  • Assess and select cell vendors based on best-in-class performance and competitive ROI
  • Conduct various technical performance evaluations on cells used in existing products as well as candidate cells for future products
  • Manage data provided by vendors, generated internally and collected externally

Next-level performance & safety

Our vetting process is an integral part of what we do. All battery cells are evaluated in stages: bankability evaluation, commercial analysis, technical analysis, quality inspection, and performance testing. The goal of this process is to ensure that cells from new vendors meet our technical and engineering standards and are suitable for integration into our products.

Our ongoing battery cell evaluations also allow us to switch between cell capacities and even different cell chemistries. The Battery Lab continuously monitors advancements in cell manufacturing and design. This means we’re prepared to assess new cells, bringing greater safety and performance to Powin systems. We work closely with all of our cell vendors to drive innovation and bring the highest level of performance and safety to the market.

Evaluations: Quality and performance are priorities

We go above and beyond to ensure you get the best quality energy storage solutions. That’s why we do everything to ensure we have the most accurate and comprehensive data collection and analysis processes. We’ve handpicked subject matter experts to lead the way, who bring their expertise and know-how to the table.

This commitment to quality benefits not just us but also our cell vendors, industry stakeholders, and, most importantly, you. In addition, we’re constantly working with cell testing professionals to identify cutting-edge cell characterization techniques to bring to the Powin Battery Lab.

To ensure the best results, our testing methodology evaluates key cell characteristics:

  • Vendor data validation
  • Cycle/Calendar/Design life
  • DC internal resistance
  • Round trip efficiency
  • Thermal performance
  • Incremental Capacity Analyses
  • Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS)
  • State of Charge (SOC)/State of Health (SOH) curves
  • Predictive performance diagnostics
  • Fire safety

Designed with Safety in Mind: Relentless Prevention, Detection & Mitigation

Your safety is our priority. And that’s why we have a no-nonsense approach to testing. We test every cell, module, and stack product against UL 9540A and NFPA standards and put each of our platforms through Large-Scale Burn tests to simulate a worst-case environment. Over time, lithium iron phosphate cells have demonstrated an advanced safety profile attributed to a higher thermal runaway temperature compared to NMC, NCA, and LMO technologies.

To ensure the highest safety standards, we work with certified third-party companies to run cell safety tests according to industry standards. Test protocols provide standard methods for evaluating safety performance and are critical for guiding site-level safety measures such as equipment spacing.

During testing, we exceed industry standards by putting our battery systems under the highest level of stress and assessing the response. Safety is our top priority, and our successful test results prove that our thermal and insulation barriers prevent propagation from one battery unit to the next.

The safety standards that Powin tests against are:

Powin Safety Standards

Unwavering commitment to performance

As part of our commitment to battery cell quality and performance, we do vigorous testing. This includes testing against vendor claims as well as the performance of compatible cells on the market. We use this analysis to produce our Cell Vendor Reports, which characterize new cells against Powin’s standard, ensuring the safe and reliable integration of a diverse cell supply.

In addition to these tests, we also offer performance and lifespan guarantees for our systems that are backed by data from our battery laboratory tests, cell vendor warranties, and performance guarantees. Many of these guarantees are specifically arranged by Powin to ensure our customers receive the optimal balance of longevity, efficiency, and value.

The Battery Lab also collaborates with our in-house analytics and engineering teams on development. The lab is involved in efforts to provide industry-leading opportunities for Powin’s systems to address service, predictive and preventive maintenance, and capacity augmentation or maintenance.

Final Thoughts

It’s an exciting and important time to be involved with energy storage. After all, now more than ever, we need safe, reliable, and cost-effective energy storage solutions. Powin is proud to play an integral role in our transition to a carbon-free world.

1 Data Source: Battery Energy Storage System Capex Report, IHS Markit 2022
2 Data Source: Battery Market Tracker, IHS Markit 2022

Forrest Long, Senior Director of Powin Product Test Group