A new project will explore the possibility of using old electric car batteries for energy storage in both domestic and workplace settings.
Commissioned by Gateshead College’s low carbon subsidiary, Zero Carbon Futures, the new 2nd life for EV batteries project will explore using old batteries-which lack sufficient driving range for use in electric cars- as energy storage to provide emergency power to buildings, feed energy back to the grid or even recharge electric cars that are still on the road.
According to Zero Carbon Futures, electric car batteries are expected to have lost some of their charging capacity after eight to ten years of use, but will still retain around 80 per cent of their capacity; meaning that they still have plenty of useable life left in them.
By decommissioning them for other uses such as static energy storage, electric car batteries can have a useful second life, in particular, could prove useful in storing energy from intermittent, small scale renewable sources such as domestic wind and solar applications.
Lead by SR Technology Innovations, in collaboration with sustainable project management firm, tadea, the project hopes to prove that electric car batteries can have a life around three times longer than its first in-car application. In time, by securing a second life for electric car batteries, it could help reduce the cost of buying an electric car in the first place.
A demonstrator will be used at North East’s Future Technology Centre to prove the application. It will store power from photovoltaic (PV) panels and can be used to power domestic appliances or electric cars. It can also store power from the grid and feed it back in.
“The generation of green energy is of growing worldwide focus, and this could represent an efficient storage solution for small-scale solar and turbine energy,” explains Dr. Colin Herron, Zero Carbon Futures managing director. “For example, power collected during the day could then be released into the home for use at night, or used to charge an EV ready for work in the morning. Installation in line with PV panels can greatly reduce the demand on the national grid and, in the long term, offer considerable savings on energy bills in domestic and commercial application. A secondary source of energy can mean an end to power cuts, the potential for a welcome long-term reduction in energy bills and increasing integration of EVs into the home.”
The battery second-life system can also be used independently of EV ownership, maximising the potential benefits of the project once commercialised.
As Tim Scott, managing director of SR Technology Innovations explains: “The system is an extension of our work on hybrid vehicles and electronic control systems technologies. It combines a number of discrete energy solutions and the next step will be to integrate these into a smaller, single package which would be more appropriate for a domestic application and will significantly reduce the cost for the full system. The technology will become increasingly compatible as Europe increases its reliance on green energy production and more homes install photovoltaics.”