Last fall, we reported GM partnered with ABB Group to start testing end-of-life batteries that are retrieved from the automaker’s Chevy Volt. The goal of the project is to someday be able to sell energy back to the grid using the otherwise discarded technology.
Recently, the automotive company informed EarthTechling that they were able to successfully demonstrate an energy storage system that combines second-use Volt batteries and a grid-tied electric power inverter, making the team one step closer to building a 50 kilowatt-hour prototype. GM believes 33 Volt batteries would be enough to power 50 homes for roughly four hours.
In addition to being able to potentially sell electricity back to the grid, the manufacturer says the experimental technology could be implemented to supplement energy use during peak demand times, and even provided a source of back-up power during outages.
Afterlife use for batteries is a key step to reducing the impact of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, as we reported earlier this year that at least one study found that the production of batteries is the most environmentally destructive aspect of green vehicles. And with the Volt now available to consumers nationwide, that could mean a host of new batteries that GM claims will still have 70% of their life power even after the car itself is exhausted.