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Creating innovative energy storage solutions by giving batteries a “second life”

( 01/03/2018 ) Written by: Prasanna Srinivasan

As the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to gain momentum, repurposing the batteries used in these vehicles after they no longer have sufficient capacity is creating new opportunities for the energy storage market.

The battery in an EV typically needs to be replaced once its capacity dips below 80 percent – approximately every eight years. It is likely no longer suitable for use in the vehicle, however, this doesn’t mean that the batteries have reached their end of life. Repurposed batteries can be used to store other energies as both commercial and residential stationary energy storage -- – creating a “second life” for it. If approached in a smart manner, this can be a very attractive market, especially considering the near 100-percent recyclability of lead batteries is not yet present for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Case in point: Several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – including Tesla and Mercedes – have modified their modules to be used for stationary energy storage.

There are some challenges, however, with the re-use of Li-on batteries, such as accumulating enough of the same type or style of module or cells in the correct voltage configuration. Additionally, one of the challenges is to account for differing performance levels and health of the cells in the module or pack. Proper diagnostics and testing will have to be performed before moving them over for the new application. However, a system of standardized modules and outputs at least in a singular OEM could have a distinct advantage in the “second life” market.

Cost parity has been a major factor driving energy storage systems, especially with Li-on battery chemistries as the dominant technology and the preferred solution because of superior energy density. However, this isn’t an issue with repurposing retired EV batteries. The second life module has already been paid for, leaving overhead and racking as the only costs. Depending on the application and original design of the module, thermal management materials – such as gap fillers and adhesives – may be needed to make removal of modules from the battery easier. LORD gap fillers and adhesives  have been designed with the second life of batteries in mind.

Renewable energy sources are becoming – if not already are – mainstream and play a vital role in developing a sustainable energy system. As new business models for energy are developed, it also creates opportunities to give a second life to batteries that are no longer useable in EVs and for innovation in energy storage solutions. Let LORD know your thoughts on the second life of batteries.

 

LEARN MORE:

To learn more about “Understanding gap fillers as a thermal management solution in electric vehicles,” click here.

Click here for “Energy Storage, Part One: Are energy storage systems the next big thing?”

Click here for “Energy Storage, Part Three: How electrical vehicles and technological advancements are driving the market.”

Click here for “Energy Storage, Part Three: How electrical vehicles and technological advancements are driving the market?”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR MORE BY THIS AUTHOR
Prasanna Srinivasan

Prasanna Srinivasan is Manager, Business Development & Marketing at LORD Corporation, with a focus on growing the company’s thermal management business.

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