Zero Carbon Futures Explores the Possibility of Using EV Batteries as Energy Storage For Buildings

4 years ago by Mark Kane 7

Lithium ion batteries can be used as a source of power storage and transference for the home

Lithium ion batteries can be used as a source of power storage and transference for the home

Multi-functional integrated demonstrator unit from Zero Carbon Futures

Multi-functional integrated demonstrator unit from Zero Carbon Futures

British firm Zero Carbon Futures is joining the club that believes in “life after death” and is developing a solution for after-life for the automotive batteries.

The goal of the collaborative project in North East England is to develop an innovative solution for used batteries from electric vehicles (EVs).

Partially worn batteries still can work as energy storage in a domestic or workplace environment, either for charging vehicles, providing an emergency power source or feeding power back into the grid.

Geoff Watson, Zero Carbon Futures technical manager said:

“Although the performance of lithium ion batteries used in EVs dwindles in their original application after eight to 10 years, they maintain around 80 percent of their operational capability, and the challenge is to successfully harness this potential. The project between SR Technology Innovations and tadea, commissioned by Zero Carbon Futures has developed a multi-functional demonstrator unit that can store power from photovoltaic (PV) panels to power the home, charge EVs, feed back into the grid or help manage your power supply to minimize exposure to peak tariffs. The system can also be charged from the grid itself, making it a truly multi-purpose energy storage tool.”

The demonstrator kit will be utilized in the North East’s Future Technology Centre.

Zero Carbon Futures argues that this kind of system will extend battery life by three-times that of its first in-car usage. So if pack will handle 10 years in the vehicle, then it should be able to withstand 20 more as stationary energy storage.

The financial and environment benefits are obvious. Now, who’s first to offer up those used EV batteries?

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7 responses to "Zero Carbon Futures Explores the Possibility of Using EV Batteries as Energy Storage For Buildings"

  1. Bonaire says:

    Why not keep the battery in the EV longer than 8-10 years? Many car frames, bodies and suspension give out by 10 years. If my EV battery is at 80% after 10 years, I would just continue to drive it. If it goes to 50% or lower, it may be a problem in the car and not long after, a problem in the grid storage unit. For Volt owners, they may not notice any detriment after 200K miles. Some volts hav already hit 100k miles of mixed mode use and are not showing losses yet. The problem is Lithium Plating happening in the battery. If plating did not occur, the battery would never lose its charge capacity.

    One day, batteries will not have a plating problem. Design out the flaw rather than plan to use batteries in other ways once the flaw is encumbering use.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      We can cross our fingers and hope for a solution to the underlying technological problems (see HFCV) or we can pursue other routes to increasing the value of batteries.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    Doesn’t GM already have a program in place to do this?

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Lots of manufacturers have these in place. Re-use increases the value above simply recycling.

  3. Bloggin says:

    Having a battery pack for home that provides power storage, that can also be charged by solar panels, and pull the home completely off the grid from time to time is a great idea.

    There is quite a bit of energy loss between sending power back to the grid from home solar panels. Which reduces how much the owner is credited for returning energy to the grid.

    Being able to store much of that energy and actually use it to power the home instead of grid power has great potential.

    Especially with the cabin in the mountains, where the solar panels can be charging the batteries and feeding back to the grid for months when the cabin is not in use. Essentially the cabin becomes a power source, that between the home solar panels, offers a zero energy use from the grid.

    As this technology grows and demand for used batteries grow, it could boost EV sales and help lift mileage restrictions on EV lease contracts.

    1. io says:

      No clue what you’re really trying to say, but it certainly would not be wise to use batteries to minimize transmission losses, as those (6 to 7% in the US) are lower than a charge/discharge cycle and the necessary voltage conversions.

      1. Dave R says:

        Yep – and that 6-7% includes long distance transmission. Your home PV system isn’t going to be sending power farther than your local neighborhood (unless a large number of your neighbors also have solar), so transmission losses will be significantly lower.