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Used batteries may be strategic to provide stability to systems generating intermittent energy, such as solar and wind models

Have you noticed that every single day there’s a release or announcement of investment in the electric car industry? Renowned brands, for decades in the market, nowadays compete with new players such as Tesla Motors in the growing and billionaire electric vehicles industry. However, none of that would be possible without a key technology: battery. Today, they set the performance and lifespan of an electric car. And when the lifespan of such batteries comes to an end – in approximately 10 years -, there’s nothing left to do be done to them other than proper disposal.

But that is about to change.

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Old batteries: a renewable energy ally

A research by McKinsey, an American consulting firm, showed that the growiing volume of old batteries from electric cars may have a noble destination: to serve as energy storage of renewable and intermittent sources, such as solar and wind. Today, one of the greatest bottlenecks in adopting such sustainable energy solutions is the fact that, if it’s not too windy, there’s no energy for those supplied by wind power and, if it’s not sunny, there’s no solar power for those who depend on this energy.  

Batteries could solve this issue. This is where electric cars – and their used batteries – fit in. Requirements for stationary battery systems are less demanding than those of mobile systems, as with those operating in cars. Hence, when a battery is too old to work in cars, it can be reused in stationary systems – households, offices, hotels, hospitals, etc.

According to McKinsey, by 2030, about 220 GWh may be stored in second-hand stationary batteries. Considering that the average consumption of a Brazilian household is roughly 157 KWh, this is equivalent to the demand of 1.4 thousand households.

Learn more on this topic

Interested in the subject? Check out the full study published in April, 2019 by McKinsey called “Second-life EV batteries: The newest value pool in energy storage” (free and in PDF format). For those who want to learn more, it’s worth checking out, for free, an article of March 2019 by the same consulting firm, “How residential energy storage could help support the power grid”.

Content published in May 23, 2019

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