Second Life for Batteries

A project log for Power Pack: Diversifying the Automobile

Powering the future is about diversifying our energy sources, including the vehicles that power or lives.

james-neeJames Nee 04/30/2016 at 01:240 Comments

A good friend of mine posited a few months ago about what will happen to all the lithium ion batteries after they've reached the end of their usefulness? These cells typically will be able to hold an 80% charge, which is good enough for many applications such as cell phones, laptops and the like - but is incredibly noticeable in an electric vehicle application, especially for the range anxious.

That said, it is interesting to see that electric vehicles on the road today have not yet suffered a as much degradation in capacity as expected -

The secondary market for lithium batteries is most likely to be grid energy storage. There is already a healthy amount of investment in the idea from multiple angles, such as Tesla's Powerwall, to Nissan and Eaton teaming up to recycle old Nissan cells ( I am excited by that because leveling the demand and supply of power will not only improve the efficacy of time dependent renewable energies like hydro, solar, tidal, wind, but also provide a useful end of life for the millions of lithium ion cells being produced. Additionally, with the modular and self-sufficient nature of the Power Pack module this is an easy transition from serving in a vehicle to serving the grid, without the need for labor intensive break downs or even the need to build new enclosures for the cells. The real question is the transmission voltages that these cells will need to support which may require some reconfiguration of the pack or multiple modules to achieve.

Also - I am working on a scale version of the enclosure! Expect an update on that process soon.