Repurposed EV Batteries Show Promise for Large-Scale Solar Energy Storage Applications

2 mins read
Source - B2U

Electric vehicles may emit less pollution compared to traditional gasoline cars, however, their production process through mining and manufacturing still has an impact on the environment. To optimize the utilization of these batteries, repurposing old EV batteries can be a sustainable solution. Moreover, batteries in electric vehicles can also play a crucial role in storing renewable energy such as solar power, thereby reducing its intermittency issue. Recently, B2U Storage Solutions has made a significant achievement by accumulating 25MWh of solar energy storage capacity by utilizing second-life batteries from Honda and Nissan, which was declared on Tuesday.

The Lancaster, California-based facility of B2U utilizes solar panels to charge its batteries during daylight hours. These batteries then generate revenue for the company by selling the stored energy back to the grid during periods when the rate for solar power is higher. According to the company, the facility generated over $1 million in revenue last year.

The company’s unique advantage lies in its proprietary plug-and-play technology, which utilizes the existing management systems of battery packs. This technology virtually eliminates the repurposing costs and makes the operation of the company highly efficient, according to the co-founder and president, Freeman Hall.

According to Freeman Hall, co-founder and president of B2U, repurposed EV batteries are highly suitable for solar energy storage as the demands placed on them are much less compared to when they were used to power vehicles. The amount of current used for energy storage is not even close to 10% of the battery’s rated capacity, and the voltage levels are not pushed to the maximum or minimum limits, which ultimately results in a longer second lifespan for the batteries.

Hall also stated that as the company accumulates a track record of the effectiveness of the repurposed batteries through a cycle history and dataset, they will be in a better position to expand their operations and scale up as the number of batteries being repurposed increases.

B2U Storage Solutions, established in 2019 by Freeman Hall and Mike Stern, is a prominent player in the energy storage sector, providing large-scale energy storage systems utilizing second-life electric vehicle batteries. The company was spun off from Solar Electric Solutions (SES), which had a remarkable track record of developing 100MW of solar photovoltaic energy across 11 projects. B2U’s hybrid energy storage facility in Lancaster, California has been in operation since May 2020 and has achieved an impressive 25 MWh storage capacity to date. B2U’s Energy Storage System (EPS) allows for the deployment of electric vehicle batteries in large-scale energy storage applications without the need for repurposing, thus reducing costs. The batteries can be used in their original pack casing.

Additionally, companies specializing in battery recycling such as Redwood Materials and Lithion are gaining traction in the market. It will be intriguing to see if other industries and sectors will adopt similar technology in the future. For example, automobile manufacturers may look into using this technology to reduce their carbon footprint in production, while airports and airlines may consider using small-scale onsite energy storage. With early adopters of electric vehicles upgrading to newer models, the supply of used batteries is expected to dramatically increase and many of these could be repurposed for alternative energy storage solutions.

Govind Tekale

A retired teacher at Sainik School Kazhakootam, besides his lifelong reading passion he is now an avid writer.

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