Today’s Solutions: May 22, 2022

Typically when an EV battery reaches the end of its life-span, the manufacturer takes it back and recycles them. But according to researchers at the University of Warwick, many automotive Lithium-ion batteries have enough life left in them after a car is scrapped for “second-life” uses.

To do this, it’s necessary to “grade” the used batteries—identify those suitable for use as spare parts, those suitable for “second life,” and those suitable for recycling materials. This grading process is traditionally a long and expensive process. The car company Nissan wanted to explore ways to make a much faster grading process for their used Li-ion batteries from the Nissan LEAF—to allow reuse of old battery packs or modules instead of disposing or recycling them. 

That’s where the scientists from Warwick come into play: they have created a new method of grading battery modules that take as little as 3 minutes to do, which is pretty incredible considering the process previously took over 3 hours. Graded second-life battery packs can provide reliable and convenient energy storage options to a range of customers: from electric roaming products—providing electricity for customers on the move, to home storage products—enabling customers with solar panels to store their energy generated. More crucially, the packs are useful as storage allowing increased intermittent renewable energy sources on the grid, without putting the security of supply at risk.

With more and more electric cars reaching the end of their lifespans in the near future, this speedy, effective grading process could be huge in ensuring that electric cars don’t impact the environment negatively once they’re off the roads.

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