What Can We Do With All The Used Electric Car Batteries?

By: | May 8th, 2013

Researchers in Tennessee at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are looking into using used electric car batteries to provide back-up power for houses.

Using five discarded Chevrolet Volt batteries, researchers at the laboratory will carry out tests on the possibility of their power being recycled for home use. The batteries can generate up to 25 kilowatts of power and 50 kilowatt-hours of energy.

The research is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), and Dr Imre Gyuk is the manager of the Energy Storage Research Program at DOE’s Office of Electricity Deliver and Energy Reliability. He said in a statement released by ORNL: “With about one million lithium-ion batteries per year coming available from various automakers for the secondary market beginning in 2020, we see vast potential to supplement power for homes and businesses. Since these batteries could still have up to 80 per cent of their capacity, they present a great opportunity for use in stationary storage devices before sending them to be recycled.”

The researchers go on to claim that there are many energy saving possibilities with this new the method as well as much grid stability. They explain that the application of this power “could one day power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.”

Throughout the next 12 months, ONRL will work alongside General Motors and the ABB Group to devise the ins and outs of this scheme and uncover its fullest potential.

Jonathan Keane

Irish journalist writing on business, tech and engineering.

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