BMW and Bosch’s Second-Life 2.8 MWh Energy Storage Solution in Hamburg

OCT 25 2016 BY MARK KANE 36

A massive 2.8 MWh / 2 MW energy storage system made from second life electric car batteries has entered service in Hamburg, Germany.

Together, Vattenfall, BMW and Bosch have used 2,600 battery modules from over 100 cars to complete the project.

A second life for used electric vehicle batteries

A second life for used electric vehicle batteries

The Battery 2nd Life project will map out the long term abilities of re-used batteries, as well as provide a buffer for Hamburg’s HafenCity district.

“The Battery 2nd Life development project organized by Vattenfall, BMW and Bosch kicked off in 2013 for a planned term of five years.

The project partners hope to learn more about the ageing characteristics and storage capacity of used lithium-ion battery modules. Along with the electricity storage facility near the Steinwerder Cruise Centre in Hamburg, the project encompasses two other measures: Used batteries have been providing interim storage and power buffering for fast-charge stations in Hamburg’s HafenCity district since September 2014. In another application, energy consumption from the photovoltaic facility of Vattenfall’s HafenCity district heating station is being maximized by interim storage of energy in batteries during sunny periods with low electricity demand.”

A second life for used batteries

A second life for used batteries

Cordelia Thielitz, General Manager of Bosch Energy Storage Solutions said:

“Bosch develops turnkey storage solutions for energy suppliers and industrial enterprises. Electricity storage systems are a key success factor for the new energy landscape.

Thanks to smart electronic controllers, these storage systems can absorb excess electricity and release it again very quickly when needed. That way they help to stabilize the electricity grid. We expect to gain valuable knowledge from the Battery 2nd Life development project, and we regard it is as an important step on the way to a more efficient and more decentralized energy system,”.

A second life for used batteries

A second life for used batteries

Dr Bernhard Blättel, Vice President Mobility Services and Energy Services, BMW Group:

“The BMW Group is fully committed to electromobility with our BMW i model. Initiator projects for the charging infrastructure and energy management play a key role in this. The battery storage facility officially opened today represents an important milestone in the further optimisation of battery management. In future, with BMW Storage we will be able to offer efficient battery storage solutions tailored to customer needs.

In the context of the new energy landscape, the BMW Group regards energy storage as the core component of energy management. That applies to storage in vehicles as well as stationary storage systems. In future, battery storage systems will also make a significant contribution to increasing the sustainability of electromobility. We can look back on a successful collaboration, and we have gained valuable insights from this cooperative development project.”

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36 Comments on "BMW and Bosch’s Second-Life 2.8 MWh Energy Storage Solution in Hamburg"

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How do they get over 100 second life batteries?
Hopefully not from partially malfunctioning replaced batteries, because Nissan replaced only one in 100.000 of the Leaf batteries (as far as I recall reading)

From all the i3’s they get back from lease returns.

Prototypes, test mules, seconds from the battery factory and of course warranty jobs.

Internal combustion engines probably just get schredded to make biscuit tins.

You are assuming that the car failed due to the battery degrading which then needed to be replaced. This has (as you point out) been a pretty rare occurrence. 2nd life works because the battery value lasts better than the car value. You don’t have to wait for the car or battery to devalue to zero either in terms of performance for its first use or monetary value. You just have to get to the point where buying, removing and installing the battery from a used car cost significantly less than buying a new battery. I assume that these first 100 packs came from cars that have been upgraded to the 33 kWh batteries but I also suspect that they took some packs out of controlled batches, some brand new, some from really high mileage cars, some from high temperature climates, some from low temperature climates, so that had been fast charged a lot, etc. to see how they performed. It’s certainly an interesting model for BMW to look at. I remember watching a presentation by Nissan in 2008 where they said the only way EV’s would stack up is if Nissan got the battery at the end of the… Read more »

BMW i3 is not old enough in the market to be worn out.

one defective cell will knock out the system..On the other hand Tesla has it engineered that if One cell become defective ,the system will automatically bypass the defective cell & go on as normal..

IN other words,..Tesla Doesn’t throw out the Baby with the bath water..

If a cell in a BMW i3 battery pack fails, the module containing the failed cell can be replaced, so the entire battery pack needn’t be replaced.

Sorry, but you are repeating an urban legend. Having tens of cells connected in parallel via wire bonding how would you bypass a weak cell? You would have to have an relay at each and every of them.

The only thing that has been “accidentally engineered” is that if one cell has a short or something the bonding wire will blow off acting as a fuse and remaining XXX-1 parallel cells will keep working.

Tesla Motors’ white paper on their battery pack is rather far from an “urban legend”. Have you read that? I’m guessing you have not.

And just because you can’t figure out how Tesla engineered its battery packs to cut a bad cell out of the circuit, doesn’t mean Tesla’s engineers couldn’t figure that out.

Not only Tesla, but every battery pack is engineered like that. Otherwise Nissan and others would have to replace 99.999 out of 100.00 packs

Hmmm, are you sure? As I recall from what I’ve read, one of the reasons that Leaf packs tend to lose “bars” prematurely is that if just one cell in the pack goes bad, the electronics have to cut out an entire series of cells, not just one single small cell as Tesla packs do.

At the end of 2015, BMW had sold 41,586 i3’s. 100 packs would only be 0.24% of that number. I can easily believe they’d have that many from factory QC rejects, warranty replacements, and pre-production units.

I certainly don’t think BMW would need to dip into the much larger pool of leased cars at the end of their lease. Most of those will be sold as used cars, not cannibalized for parts, altho perhaps BMW does take a few of them apart to analyze how well they’re holding up under use.

BMW made and leased nearly 2,000 MINI-Es and ActiveE test cars from 2009 to 2014. They had always said the battery packs from these vehicles would be used in 2nd life stationary energy storage programs. Plus, they made over 100 pre-production i3’s which were used for test drives around the US in early 2014. None of them had VINs and were only allowed to be used for a specified period of time. They have all since been shipped back to Germany. BMW has no shortage of used battery packs for these kinds of programs, I’m sure.

Now this makes sense 🙂
And then the Storage thing is proof of concept / marketing.

I think in light of the 80 MWh project in Southern California, the use of “massive” to describe a 2.8 MWh installation is a little misguided.

yes, we shall better use second largest worldwide. 😀

Ahh…Lovely Hamburg. Home of the Hamburglar.

Totally incorrect…

Hamburg, New York (suburb of buffalo) is the originator of the hamburger, back then called a ‘Hamburg’. I heard an interview with the developer’s great grandkids.

There was some litigation involving I believe a Texas outfit at the time, but then it was proven that the Texas joint got its idea by sampling the hamburg Hamburg.

Oh, sorry misread hamburglar..

That brings to mind McDonald’s Corporation trying to sue Scottish Macdonald’s Restaurant (in business for a century) regarding use of their name. The Corp. rightfully lost in court.

This is a brilliant demonstration of why the world needs American innovation. People have been eating meat patties and bread rolls for centuries but it was the Americans who brought the 2 together so you could eat it in a car without a knife and fork.

I think the Earl of Sandwich might disagree!

Good point, perhaps we don’t need America after all.

If they elect Trump maybe we should probably have the nation disbanded. I suspect there’d be a reasonable level of support for that from within the USA.

I saw an interesting article that suggested that the US nuclear deterrent should be moved to Canada until everyone South of the boarder has calmed down, but I digress.

Umm; Canada got rid of our nuclear weapons and don’t want anyone else’s (I mean, you can’t use them so why have them, right?). But it the interest of being helpful to the world we are willing to host the nuclear ‘football’ if you-know-who wins the presidency (just for safe keeping).
Now if you’ll excuse me, there is a wall to build (just in case).

Ok, – good idea I guess.

I question the use of the word MASSIVE however..

In the really TINY steel plant I worked in years ago, one tiny roller mill line up(out of 3) used much more than 2 MW (3000 hp motor).

Chemical factories and Aluminum Smelters also use a watt or two here and there so they tell me.

To me it just looks like an air-conditioned out house.

But the basic concept is good. Although I am surprised they had this many worn out BMW batteries. Now, Nissan on the other hand, SHOULD have put replacement batteries in their cars. THey’d’ve gotten fewer complaints that way.

Bill, this is not the way those capacity are intend to be use.
Frequency and voltage regulation is the thing.
It’s what they’ll mostly do, although the need to store some amount of energy for doing so, it’s main purpose at this level is stabilization of quick burst in and out, nothing else.
2.8 MWH could be dispensing in just a few minutes to help the grid.

Well most utilities handle the voltage regulation problem with Synchronous Condensors, whether dedicated or defacto.

Frequency regulation isn’t absolutely critical since only long term (over several minutes) is important.

But this is less than what a mall uses so its pretty small potatoes, and won’t really affect either.

IN other words,..Tesla Doesn’t throw out the Baby with the bath water.. HAHAHA

Meh anyone interested in a long life battery storage would just buy new batteries. Used ones might be good for a DIY home unit but I don’t see utilities buying into this. It’s a dead idea IMO.

Not a dead idea.

Far better than sending them to the chipper.

It all depends on the price.

300$/kWh new
100$/kWh used for 2-5 years (expected lifetime 20 years).

Which one will utilities choose?

That’s not how business works.

You calculate Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). You check weather You can uphold Service Level Agreements (SLA), can find space and labor cheaply enough.

All over whole lifespan of the project.

Paying too much premium over too little benefit is out of the question.

If they choose used batteries it’s because they think bigger repairs & maintenance bills will still be less then extra for new batteries.

Also using used batteries allows them to enter the field early, to develop both technology & market position, where they will hold advantages compared to any competition that waits for new batteries prices to drop enough.

georgeS said:

“Meh anyone interested in a long life battery storage would just buy new batteries. Used ones might be good for a DIY home unit but I don’t see utilities buying into this.”

Why not? EV batteries are considered worn out when they’ve degraded to 80% of the original capacity. But stationary storage batteries are used until they reach 50% capacity. Why would a utility not want to buy much cheaper used batteries at 80%, and use up their remaining useful life?

In fact, it hasn’t been that many years ago when I read articles advising those building basement solar power storage systems to contact their local golf course, and befriend whoever was in charge of the golf carts, so they could get the deep cycle lead-acid batteries when they were too worn out to be useful in a golf cart.

Now, that sort of scavenging is something I wouldn’t expect a utility to bother with. But buying used EV battery packs? There certainly is an aftermarket potential there.

The cost/benefit for a utility buying used EV battery packs for grid stabilization and peak shaving would surely be much better than buying new battery packs for those purposes.

The obvious source for BMW i3 batteries are written off / crash damaged vehicles. 100 packs out of 41,000 vehicles sold seems reasonable amount.

No, because they would have a hard time acquiring these battery packs. And there would be a huge job verifying they where not damaged or bent etc.

Yup. I too considered the idea, but as you say, quality control would be a major headache. Besides, BMW would have to pay the salvage price for those wrecks. Far simpler just to stick with pre-production units, packs which were replaced under warranty, and possibly some factory seconds.