Could retired EV batteries be repurposed to power developing countries?
INDUSTRY NEWS | 2 MIN READ
Researchers at the University of Warwick have repurposed old electric vehicle batteries as a small energy storage system (ESS) for developing countries or isolated communities.
The project has been backed by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), who supplied the batteries and components from the I-PACE
A group of researchers at the University of Warwick have successfully repurposed old electric vehicle batteries as a small energy storage system (ESS) for developing countries or isolated communities.
Using batteries from the Jaguar I-PACE, each unit holds 2kWh of energy capacity which could be repurposed to provide electricity to small shops, farms and residential homes.
Prof James Marco, Lead Researcher on the project said:
“When an electric vehicle’s battery reaches the end of its useful life it is by no means massively depleted”
“It has simply reached the end of its useful life in a vehicle. It is generally accepted that an EV battery has reached the end of life when its capacity drops to 80 per cent of a fresh battery. While this is no longer enough to satisfy drivers, it remains immensely useful for anyone who seeks to use the battery in a static situation.”
Researchers have stated that there’s no reason that partially depleted batteries from EVs can’t be used in a second life as long as they are used reliably and sustainably. However, the project does pose a number of challenges such as being able to preserve the batteries to retain their charge capabilities and the lithium-ion cells required protection from over-charge and discharges. Additionally, the team need to ensure the ESS compatibility with other used battery cells and modules from other manufacturers, whilst developing an easy and economical maintenance regime.
“This is a great result that not only provides a highly efficient repurposing solution for automotive batteries but which could also change lives in remote communities,” Prof Marco said in a statement. “We are now looking for support to allow these new units to be further developed and tested in remote or off-grid locations.”
The researchers at the University of Warwick said that they have had help overcoming some of the challenges from the High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centre, based at the university, and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), who supplied the batteries and components from the I-PACE.
The research project was part of the Innovate UK funded Project: 2nd hEVen (2nd-Life Energy Storage Systems) and is supported by the WMG High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.
(Images sourced via WMG, University of Warwick)