21st July 2024

Time shifting is among the keys to the solar energy revolution. It permits renewable power created throughout one a part of the day to be saved in batteries to be used throughout a special a part of the day. Historically, these batteries have consisted of recent battery cells — both NMC or LFP. However one firm in California thinks used EV battery packs are an easier and more economical approach to retailer electrical energy for later use.

The 2 fundamental parameters foe EV batteries are power and energy. Vitality is the power to do work. Energy is the power to do work shortly. It takes energy to speed up an electrical automobile from relaxation. Over time, EV batteries degrade to the purpose the place they will not present the ability and vary wanted by an EV however usually have loads of capability left for power storage.

Typical knowledge means that the subsequent step for depleted EV batteries is to recycle them, however B2U, a California begin up believes it makes extra sense to make use of them for grid scale storage earlier than sending them off to be recycled. Giving them a second life saves cash in comparison with manufacturing new battery cells and packs for power storage and takes nothing away from their worth to recyclers when that second life is completed.

B2U Leads Second Life Program For EV Batteries

second life EV batteries
Picture credit score: B2U Storage Options, Inc.

B2U is utilizing depleted EV batteries from Nissan LEAF and Honda Readability vehicles to retailer electrical energy when it it ample — and low-cost — and promoting it again to the grid when it’s costlier. It says utilizing depleted EV batteries cuts their prices roughly in half.

Nearly all of the essential supplies inside depleted EV batteries — together with lithium, nickel, and cobalt — are recoverable and reusable. A rising home recycling business, supported by billions of {dollars} in loans from the Vitality Division and incentives within the Inflation Discount Act, is being constructed to organize for what’s going to someday be tens of thousands and thousands of retired EV battery packs. Earlier than they’re disassembled, nonetheless, research present that solely round three quarters of decommissioned packs are appropriate for a second life as stationary storage.

“We have been seeing the primary era of EVs finish their time on the highway, and 70 % or extra of these batteries have very sturdy residual worth,” B2U  CEO Freeman Corridor instructed Grist lately. “That ought to be utilized earlier than all these batteries are recycled, and we’re simply deferring recycling by three, 4, or 5 years.”

Extending Life For EV Batteries

Extending the helpful lifetime of EV batteries mitigates the affect of producing them, stated Maria Chavez, power analyst on the Union of Involved Scientists. “The entire level of attempting to deploy electrical automobiles is to cut back emissions and cut back the detrimental impacts of issues like manufacturing and processes on our surroundings and our communities,” Chavez instructed Grist. “By extending the lifetime of a battery, we cut back the necessity for additional exploitation of our pure sources, we cut back the demand for uncooked supplies, and we usually encourage a extra sustainable course of.”

Simply as batteries have turn out to be essential to lowering emissions from transportation, they’re additionally wanted to totally understand the advantages of unpolluted power, in line with Grist. With out stationary storage, wind and solar energy can solely feed the grid when the wind is blowing or the solar is shining. “With the ability to retailer it and use it when it’s most wanted is a very vital approach to meet our power wants,” Chavez stated.

The usage of utility-scale battery storage is predicted to skyrocket, from 1.5 gigawatts of capability in 2020 to 30 gigawatts by 2025. EV packs may present a stockpile for that construct out. Corridor stated there are already at the very least three gigawatt-hours of decommissioned EV packs sitting round in america that could possibly be deployed, and that the amount of them being faraway from vehicles is doubling each two years. “We’re going from a trickle after we began 4 years in the past to a flood of batteries which might be coming,” he stated.

Plug And Play

B2U says its know-how permits batteries to be repurposed in a virtually “plug and play style.” They don’t have to be disassembled, and models from a number of producers — B2U has examined batteries from Honda, Nissan, Tesla, GM, and Ford — can be utilized in a single system.

The packs are saved in massive cupboards and managed with proprietary software program, which screens their security and discharges and fees every battery primarily based on its capability. The batteries cost through the day from each the photo voltaic panels and the grid. Then B2U sells that energy to utilities at night time, when demand and costs are a lot larger.

Corridor stated utilizing second life batteries earns the identical monetary return as new grid scale batteries at half the preliminary price, and that for now, repurposing the packs is extra profitable for automakers than sending them straight to recyclers. Till the recycling business grows, it’s nonetheless fairly costly to recycle them. By promoting or leasing retired packs to a grid storage firm, stated Corridor, producers can squeeze extra worth out of them.

That would even assist drive down the price of electrical automobiles, he added. “The precise price of leasing a battery on wheels ought to go down if the complete worth of the battery is enhanced and reused,” he stated. “All people wins after we reuse in a sensible style.” B2U expects so as to add storage to a 3rd photo voltaic facility close to Palmdale subsequent 12 months. The amenities are supposed to show the thought works, after which B2U plans to promote its {hardware} and software program to different storage venture builders.

For the time being, although, deliberate deployment of the know-how is restricted. B2U predicts solely about 6 % of decommissioned EV batteries within the U.S. will likely be used for grid-scale storage by 2027. “Persons are skeptical, and they need to be, as a result of it’s onerous to do reuse of batteries,” stated Corridor. “However we’ve obtained a strong knowledge set that does show reliability, efficiency, and profitability. We’re at a degree the place we actually can scale this.”

The Takeaway

Anti-EV forces have been screaming on the high of their lungs for years that the world will quickly be awash in used EV batteries. They’ll litter the panorama and leach poisonous chemical compounds into ever river and stream. Because it turns our, nonetheless, second life corporations like B2U could also be snapping up all of the used batteries they will discover, sparking a bidding conflict with recycling corporations like Redwood Supplies. Wouldn’t that be the proper comeuppance for all these nattering nabobs of negativism?

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