|▲ ACE Engineering / CEO Danny You|
Carbon neutrality is when as much carbon as you emit is removed by carbon capture, resulting in zero net emissions. The term carbon neutral is commonly used because carbon-related substances such as carbon dioxide and methane are responsible for most of the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases, the main culprits in global warming, make up less than 1% of the atmosphere’s composition. As greenhouse gases have continued to rise since industrialization, the average global temperature has risen by about 1.2 degrees over the past 100 years. The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, prepared by the IPCC under the auspices of the United Nations, stated that at this rate, global temperatures will rise by about 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, and that a rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius will lead to climate disasters such as heat waves, flooding, and sea level rise. To prevent this, we need to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5﹎ alongside achieving carbon neutrality before 2050, and thus the global and international discussions are spreading.
The world is rapidly transitioning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and fuel cells. This change is being embodied in initiatives such as “RE100,” which calls for companies to source 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050, with major countries in the U.S. and Europe, as well as China, jumping on board, expanding the movement. Due to the nature of renewable energy that depends on the natural environment such as sunlight and wind, supply and demand instability is the biggest issue, and ESS is an essential element to solve it. ESS stands for Energy Storage System, a device that aims to improve the efficiency of electricity use by storing electricity generated and delivering it when needed. The key principle is to store excess generated energy in batteries inside the ESS and deliver the stored power at the right time. ESS, which enables the storage and use of renewable energy, has naturally emerged as a core part of the electricity market and is experiencing high growth. Furthermore, the pace of growth is expected to accelerate as Europe offers various incentives to green industries in response to the U.S. IRA and the energy crisis caused by the Russian war. By 2030, the ESS market will be 15 times larger than it was in 2021, according to a Bloomberg forecast.
ACE Engineering’s RE+ Big Rock Ceremony
Building collaborations with the world’s leading energy companies
Held in September, RE+, North America’s largest green energy trade show, is a collaboration between the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), two of North America’s leading solar energy organizations, to continually update best practices across the clean energy landscape as the energy market evolves. Since its inaugural show in 2004, Solar Power International has evolved with the green energy industry and is now the largest gathering of green energy professionals in North America, bringing together green energy leaders. While most of the Korean companies attending RE+ 2023 are battery developers, there is one company that specializes in the ESS field that stands out. Starting with challenging the market in 2013, ACE Engineering is a leading domestic company that has participated in various national and private projects and is currently supplying ESS all over the world, including the United States. With more than 40 years of history and tradition, the company provides total solutions for ESS design and manufacturing with technology and know-how as high as the company’s history and tradition. The all in one solution provided by ACE Engineering covers all aspects of the project. All of the company’s products are designed according to the needs of customers and engineered according to the special requirements of different regions, environments, batteries, etc. After that, the company is responsible for production, logistics transportation and installation, and after-sales care. Behind this all-in-one solution is the company’s technical skills.
ACE Engineering is an all-inclusive ESS solutions company
Showcasing at the RE+, North America’s largest green energy trade show
ACE Engineering, an all-inclusive ESS business that spans from design, production, installation to aftercare, showcased its excellence at the RE+, North America’s largest solar, energy storage, renewable energy, and electric vehicle trade show. The RE+ is the largest gathering of green energy technologies in the world, with 27,000 green energy professionals, more than 1,000 exhibitors, and 100 countries represented. ACE Engineering set up its own booth, rubbing shoulders with global companies.
Big Rock Project Ceremony
Aiming to become the number 1 ESS group in the world
ACE Engineering hosted a Big Rock project ceremony within the RE+ event. The event was attended by LS Electric’s U.S. subsidiary LS Energy Solutions, Aventus, and Gore Street Capital. Aventus is the largest solar energy developer in the U.S. with over 20 GWh of energy storage development projects underway, and Gore Street Capital is a UK-based energy storage-focused investment firm with over 1 GW of energy storage in operation. Being able to stand shoulder to shoulder with these companies marks ACE Engineering as a global player. The Big Rock project is one of the largest ESS projects in California, at approximately 480 MWh. The site preparation began in 2023, and the company now aims to be operational by the end of 2024. The Big Rock project is a domestic example of UL9540 certification, a standard used by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a U.S. safety certification agency, to evaluate the safety of ESS systems and equipment. Certification is based on a comprehensive evaluation of fire and re-ignition hazards and gas and heat release, and UL9540 certification is required for ESS installed in the United States.
ACE Engineering manufactures products for 25 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, and China, with electronics design technology tailored to each country’s safety standards, and this foundation was critical to the successful launch of the Big Rock project. In particular, the fact that the ceremony was held by an ESS system integrator and an ESS manufacturer, as well as an energy developer, shows that ACE Engineering is not just a manufacturer, but a technical partner with its customers. The company has decided to continue to build partnerships with each of the companies that participated in the project, and aims to become the “Global No. 1 ESS” by 2026, with sales of KRW 1 trillion.
Diversifying ESS business and contributing to society
Awarded the Prime Minister’s Citation and the Minister of Employment and Labor’s Citation
Meanwhile, ACE Engineering is preparing to become a global ESS company through RE+, while continuing its various activities both domestically and internationally. In order to diversify its ESS business, the company signed an MOU with Hanwha Aerospace for technological cooperation by participating in the national project ‘Development of Localized Technology for Energy Storage for Ships’. This is collaboration for the standardization of marine energy storage systems, and the purpose is to conduct standardization with Hanwha Aerospace, which is developing modules and systems optimized for ships, as the lack of standards, regulations, and certifications for marine ESS is currently a challenge for technology development.
Along with these efforts, ACE Engineering also contributes to society. In February, ACE Engineering Chairman Insun You donated 100 million won to his alma mater, Korea University College of Engineering, for a 60th anniversary building fund. In addition, the company has contributed to the creation of jobs by developing the scale of its business, while many companies have been inactive in creating jobs due to the global economic downturn. For these contributions, the company was awarded the Prime Minister’s Citation at the SME Management Innovation Competition in 2021 and the Minister of Employment and Labor’s Citation at the 33rd Seoul SME Competition in June last year.
[ Interview with CEO Danny You ]
Q. What does ACE Engineering do?
A. ACE Engineering is an all in one ESS solutions company that covers the design, production, installation, and after-sales management. With our unrivaled engineering skills and quality databases, we have established a strong presence in the industry, building relationships with top global clients. Our main products are divided into the ESS segment and the specialty container segment, such as refrigerated, offshore and aviation. In particular, ESS enclosure products are expected to drive Ace Engineering’s main growth engine in the future as the global ESS market rapidly expands at an annual average rate of more than 40%.
Q. What are you main products?
A. We cover a wide range of products, from order-based ESS in a customized format for each customer to small, standardized mass-produced ESS, and have a unique advantage in experience and safety by securing installation of various types of batteries, which is the core of ESS manufacturing, and the database accumulated and built through it. We have also developed and provided E-houses (mobile substations), which are small that can be transported. E-houses are modular structures that contain transformers, AC/DC converters, and switchgear, and can be assembled on site or transported as a complete product. In addition, even before entering the ESS market, we are securing a leading position through our technology and know-how in specialized containers such as ultra-low temperature refrigerated containers, offshore containers, aviation containers, and military containers, in which we had a lot of know-how.
Q. What do you think is the competitive advantage of your products?
A. Whether you need to withstand earthquakes, wind, heavy rain and snow, or protect your system from high temperatures, heat, and shock, ACE Engineering has built an unrivaled engineering skill set to meet a variety of requirements and demanding standards. ESS is directly exposed to the outside environment along with electrical, fire, and air conditioning systems, so designers need to have experience building products in a variety of installation environments. We have been working on the development of the ESS field since 2013 and have gained a lot of experience, which has allowed us to accumulate a quality database. We have delivered more than 30,000 units worldwide, and with a cumulative total of 30 GWh of ESS projects under our belt, we can provide the best analysis for your new project. This experience and database has also given us the ability to offer fully customized services for installations in a variety of environments, including inland and offshore, desert and mountainous terrain. Through this, we have signed supply contracts with large domestic companies as well as overseas companies leading the global ESS market.
Q. You recently participated in RE+ 2023 (USA), what was the significance and outcome?
A. RE+ 2023 was North America’s largest solar, energy storage, renewable energy, and electric vehicle trade show, attracting more than 1,000 renewable energy companies from more than 100 countries. This year, ACE Engineering rubbed shoulders with global companies, including hosting its own booth. We see RE+ 2023 as a global marketing opportunity as the energy storage market is growing in North America and Europe In order to supply our products globally, we have been responsible for product design according to the needs of global customers, engineering, production, logistics transportation and installation, and after-sales service according to different special requirements such as region, environment, and battery.
This event is an opportunity for ESS to go global. Currently, the ESS market is growing mainly in North America and Europe, and RE+ is the largest solar, energy storage, renewable energy, and electric vehicle trade show in North America, so many global companies that have grown with the growth of the market can be seen in one place. As we plan to diversify our ESS business into electric vehicles and ships, we held meetings with global ESS companies at this event to find new customers for customer diversification. In particular, the fact that we held the ceremony together with an ESS System Integrator, an energy developer, and an ESS manufacturer is significant because it shows that ACE Engineering is not just a manufacturer, but a technical partner with its customers.
Q. Tell us about your overseas customers and product supply.
A. We manufacture products for 25 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, and China, with electronics design technology customized to each country’s safety standards. Products are offered through turnkey, customized designs for each region, application, and environment. In addition to our Seoul headquarters and Busan R&D center, we operate a total of five factories across the country, including Haman, Gyeongsangnam-do, for stable product supply. We have also expanded our production network not only in Korea but also in Vietnam and the United States through our Vietnamese and American subsidiaries to secure additional production capacity, and as a result, we have a stable foundation to respond to large orders from several global majors.
Q. What are your future business plans?
A. ACE Engineering is carrying out ESS custom design projects that are miniaturized, segmented, and diversified in line with changing trends, and plans to diversify its ESS business to include electric vehicles and ships, not complacent with the current situation. We are sparing no effort to realize the plan, especially by participating in the national project ‘development of localized technology for energy storage devices for ships’. Through these efforts, we have succeeded in achieving a significant growth of KRW 235.4 billion in sales in 2022, about 12 times more than in 2019, and we are looking forward to becoming the global No. 1 ESS company by 2026 with a goal of KRW 1 trillion in sales.