Batteries that once powered Hondas and Nissans can now contribute to the California power grid.
It’s part of an effort by B2U Storage Solutions in Lancaster, California, to give new life to EV batteries that no longer have enough juice to power transportation on the road.
“These batteries work very well,” B2U’s CEO Freeman Hall told Ars Technica. “They’re engineered for very demanding use cases, and the use case in stationary storage is far less demanding.”
By storage, Hall means using panels to capture and contain solar energy, which is sent to the state power grid.
The old EV batteries can charge up to 85% of their original capacity. It’s a unique way to maximize renewable sunlight and utilize the growing amount of EV batteries entering the market.
B2U’s system is called SEPV Sierra, which uses the company’s patented tech to successfully reuse about 1,300 batteries, Electrek reported in February. Last year, this process generated more than $1 million in revenue from sunlight power sold back to the grid.
The company is working to include Chevy and Tesla battery packs in the system. There’s a layer of technology in place, including software, that can work with the different batteries. Safety is among the chief concerns.
“We’re setting ‘guard rails,’ if you will, that are fairly conservative,” Hall said in the Ars article. “If anything was to ever get to our guard rails, we just shut down the batteries automatically.”
When a battery reaches capacity, the software tells it to disconnect, rerouting the solar charge from the panels to another pack.
This second life doesn’t mean immortality for the EV batteries. Over time, they lose the ability to hold a charge. But B2U plans to maximize its use of the pack components.
“We’re definitely working … with the recyclers to make sure that that life-cycle management activity is handled properly,” Hall said. “Reuse needs to be fitting hand in glove with the recycling so that it’s all handled very effectively.”
Look for battery recycling to continue to expand. Companies like Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Staples are part of battery recycling efforts, including single-use and EV packs, Electrek noted in a related article. And startup Tozero is working on a facility to recycle lithium-ion batteries in smartphones, EVs, laptops, and more.
“Solar is the cheapest form of energy in just about all 50 states, and you’re going to see the storage follow behind it,” Hall said to Ars.
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