Dead EV Batteries Might Get New Life

There are currently two glaring problems facing the integration of electric vehicles and renewable-energy generation into the existing grid infrastructure: unreliability of intermittent resources like solar and wind power, and end-of-life options for spent EV batteries. A forthcoming initiative from Electrovaya, a Canadian manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, aims to find a single solution to both of these problems.

Electrovaya recently announced that it has signed a contract to develop, construct and demonstrate a utility-scale stationary battery system using refurbished battery packs from electric vehicles. The repurposed batteries could be used to store electricity generated by renewable-energy systems, such as wind and solar power. Electrovaya hopes that the project will provide a model for other utilities to be able to take advantage of the significant number of used batteries expected to come into the market following the large-scale introduction of plug-in electric vehicles.

image via Shutterstock

The battery system will be installed at the Manitoba HVDC Research Centre facility, a nonprofit research subsidiary of Manitoba Hydro, the fourth-largest utility company in Canada. Major funding for the $7.6 million project¬† is coming from the Canadian government’s Clean Energy Fund and Manitoba Hydro, with additional research assistance provided by the University of Manitoba.

“By investing $3.36 million in the Electrovaya electricity storage project, our government is demonstrating its commitment to position Canada at the forefront of clean energy technology,” said Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of Natural Resources. “This innovative project supports high quality jobs and encourages new technologies to help protect our environment for future generations.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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