NEC, a network communications and information technology company, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-profit company performing research on electricity generation, have partnered to conduct joint field trials of an electricity storage system using NEC's lithium-ion battery.

The initial testing phase will include the evaluation of NEC’s 25kW lithium-ion battery system at EPRI’s Knoxville, Tennessee laboratory for its operational performance and functionality for the US smart grid applications.

The energy storage system, which will also include power electronics and NEC’s IT network technology, necessary for power control and energy management, will be tested by EPRI in support of the US’ electric industry’s transition towards smarter electric grids.

The initial testing phase will be followed by electric utility demonstrations of larger 1MW systems as part of an EPRI-US electric utility industry research collaborative.

NEC senior vice president Takemitsu Kunio said that the company wants to make advances in the cost reduction and optimization of energy management through its high capacity and long operating life technologies for energy storage systems that capitalize on manganese lithium-ion batteries.