Much like Tesla Motors finding other uses for is electric car battery system, GM is looking at additional ways to make its Chevy Volt batteries usable in other solutions. It noted today a new partnership with ABB Group, a power and automation technologies company, which could end up making use of Volt batteries that have moved on from vehicle usage.
This partnership plans to examine whether the batteries may be a source for renewable energy storage that could improve the effectiveness of wind and solar power generation. Once the Volt’s 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries have gone past their usefulness in the car, it is believed they could be used for stationary electric grid storage systems as “cost-effective, innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency of the country’s electrical grid.” This could serve as a better end of life scenario compared to trying to recycle the batteries and the hazardous materials there within.
In this study GM and ABB Group engineers and researchers are concentrating on four areas of evaluation. These include the renewable energy storage component; how grid load management would be impacted; how these batteries could be used as back up power supplies for communities; and how time of use management plays into when stored energy is deployed.
“Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure – both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions,” said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB’s smart grids initiative, in a statement. “We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits.”