Used EV batteries put to work

As older hybrids and electric cars start to reach the end of the life cycle for the high density batteries installed in them, research has been going on to what exactly can be done with the energy storage devices to keep them out of landfill.

We’ve seen examples of this unfolding already with the Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle and now Nissan, successful testing current in use Leaf batteries as secondary energy sources, has partnered with Sumitomo to trial how reused EV batteries might work for commercial scale energy hosting.

Sumitomo said it has developed and installed the world’s first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles in a test pilot project built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, Japan. It began operations this month, and for the next three years, will be studied as it operates to “measure the smoothing effect of energy output fluctuation from the nearby ‘Hikari-no-mori,’ solar farm, and will aim to establish a large-scale power storage technology by safely and effectively utilizing the huge quantities of discarded used EV batteries which will become available in the future.”

image via Sumitomo

The prototype system, selected as a model project by the Japanese government to study battery energy storage as it relates to clean energy, consists of 16 used Nissan EV batteries that have been recovered and gone through inspection and maintenance. Total power capacity of it is said to be 600 kW/400 kWh.

“We are pleased to be a part of such an important verification project that can both utilize used EV batteries,” said a Sumitomo official in a statement, “and provide a large-scale power storage facility, which are important issues that need to be addressed for the future of renewable energy.”

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling