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Second Life for Old Electric-Car Batteries: Guardians of the Electric Grid



"Imagine a future in which old electric-car batteries are deployed in neighborhoods as energy-storage systems that guard against power outages, while paving the way for wind and solar power—and more electric cars..."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...-second-life-for-used-electric-car-batteries/

Very relevant topic, I would say (hope this has not been posted elsewhere in the threads)...
 

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They've been saying this (more or less) all along; Old EV batteries might somehow be grid-tied to load shave.
I think it will cost more than its worth if there are several types, brands, and states of wear, frankly.

But I'd kill to get a couple Volt batteries for my solar system - completely off-grid. They are better than the submarine lead acids I'm now using by far. The thing is, I'd have to replace nearly all the charge control/inverter electronics, that are designed for LA batteries, which would make the cost pretty high even if the Li batteries were free.
 

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Of course, because electric cars like the Volt and the Leaf are new to the market, there will not be a large supply of spent electric-car batteries for some time to come. The batteries are supposed to last for up to ten years in the car. For the demonstration unit, GM scavenged its own laboratories to find batteries that had been degraded by simulations.

The batteries in the demo unit had been degraded down to about 85 or 90 percent of their original capacity, Valencia said. "We were calling everybody and saying, 'Give me your oldest batteries,' " he said.
We may have a long wait for used Volt batteries. Leaf batteries will become available sooner.
 

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Here's a photo of the remote battery back-up and grid stabilizaton unit presumably powered by recycled Volt batteries.
(whenever that will occur in significant numbers, 10-15 years?)

General Motors and ABB have partnered to produce a prototype back-up power storage unit that repackages five used Chevrolet Volt batteries into a modular unit that becomes an uninterruptable power supply and grid power balancing system. The unit is demonstrated Tuesday, November 14, 2012 during GM’s Electrification Experience in San Francisco, California.



GM Press Release said:
GM and ABB demonstrate Chevrolet Volt Battery Reuse – world's first use of electric vehicle batteries for homes
Partnership with ABB results in prototype back-up power storage unit
Energy storage project readies for testing on the power grid

San Francisco, Nov. 15, 2012 – General Motors and ABB today showed the next stage in battery reuse, the repackaging of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries into a modular unit capable of providing two hours of electricity needed by three to five average American homes.

The uninterruptable power supply and grid power balancing system was demonstrated during GM's Electrification Experience. The prototype unit provided 25 kW of power and 50 kWh of energy to power all the support lighting and audiovisual equipment in an "off-grid" structure used for the event.

"GM's battery development extends throughout the entire life of the battery, including secondary use," said Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of battery lifecycle management. "In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled."

GM and ABB last year demonstrated how a Chevrolet Volt battery pack could be used to collect energy and feed it back to the grid and deliver supplemental power to homes or businesses.

During today's demonstration, the energy storage system was run in a "remote power back-up" mode where 100 percent of the power for the facility came from Volt batteries through ABB's Energy Storage Inverter system. A similar application could one day be used to power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage, allow for storage of power during inexpensive periods for use during expensive peak demand, or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

These functions, along with frequency regulation on electric distribution systems, could someday be used by utilities to reduce cost to customers and improve the quality of power delivery. These applications are referred to as community energy storage to distinguish them from substation-size energy storage projects.

"We showed today how fast this research concept is turning into reality," said Allen Burchett, ABB's senior vice president for Business Development in North America. "The ABB-GM Volt battery system is the world's first use of car batteries as possible back-up power for homes and other commercial uses. We will be installing it on the grid soon to complete the technical evaluation, and this will tell us all what smart grid applications are possible, like back-up power, reducing energy cost, strengthening utilities' distribution systems and storing surplus renewable energy."

ABB's research center in Raleigh, N.C., conducted the research and development, and ABB's Medium Voltage business unit in Lake Mary, Fla., is managing the proof-of-concept testing, market research and product development. As the world's largest EV fast-charging company and leader in smart grid and energy storage, ABB works with other auto companies, battery manufacturers and utilities to help make electric power and industrial operations more productive and efficient.

GM is focused on assuring battery systems used in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles provide environmental and societal benefits beyond their use in the vehicle. Long before a battery is recycled, secondary use provides the opportunity to fully utilize the battery resource.

GM is dedicated to waste reduction throughout its operations, and its worldwide manufacturing facilities combined recycle 90 percent of the waste they generate. Ensuring that batteries are part of reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles and operations is part of the company's roadmap to sustainability.

For more information, multimedia material or to speak to ABB experts please click here.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.
 

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"Neighborhoods are low-pay sites for these kind of solutions. Meaning - any use of this in a residential neighborhood would have to be based on a very heavy loaded set of homes (presumably, apartment buildings where there is high-density) and then subsidized overall by the entire user-base of that grid's endpoints.

The best solution for this sooner, to get these started, are high-pay IT infrastructures and data centers. Where battery standby UPS systems are required, not optional like in neighborhoods. If these systems can be cost-effective, they'd replace some of the higher-maintenance lead-acid based UPS systems in larger data centers which need instant failover solutions which then also have generators as a 2nd level of power.

I figure that one good way of doing this regionally would be on solar farms. Where the acreage is already taken up by the solar arrays and the panels can help charge the units up during the day when high grid demand is going to pull from the batteries later in the afternoon and evening when the solar output starts to drop. Basically solar and grid would charge the batteries through about noon and then when batteries are full, solar outputs to the grid until 5pm and then the batteries can output to the grid through 9pm if there is high demand or sit fully-charged for grid stabilization the next day or whenever needed. Maybe the day will come when every large-scale commercial solar array setup will also include 160kWh of standby-LiIon batteries at an inexpensive cost. I guess Google, Apple and other big companies are looking to do some of this - using some of their "economic winnings" from their stellar growth.

Currently, gas-powered peaker plants are out there to help stabilize loads but gas won't last forever so some form of large-scale renewable-based solar/wind/battery systems may be quite useful in a few decades. We'll be really screwed if gas production runs low before all this is sorted out. Coal and Nuclear alone won't be able to handle the entire grid (IMO) in 2050 with a US population of 400MM. Continued population growth here and elsewhere is a major concern for our energy future. The grid can handle it now but who knows what to expect out in 2050-2100...

Or, someone actually does find a source of abiotic (non-biological based) oil/gas on the planet which is still not proven.
 
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