Japan – Car manufacturer Nissan is developing a recycling plan aimed at giving its electric car batteries a second life in the power generation industry.
The battery from the Nissan LEAF is too valuable to be crushed and melted down like a conventional end-of-life battery, the Japanese manufacturer explains, and so it is examining how these can be used for other purposes. Besides reusing the battery in other cars, options can include allowing excess power from renewable sources such as solar and wind generation to be stored and then released at peak times, reducing the need for conventional power stations to be kept on stand-by.
According to Nissan, a fully-charged battery in a LEAF car holds enough energy to power a three-bedroom home for around three days (8 kW per day). It has the potential to store solar-generated electricity and then release it when the sun is not shining, or even enable the use of wind power when there is no wind. Second-life usage is expected to give LEAF batteries a significant resale value.
‘The Nissan LEAF has only just been launched, but we have to think now about how we will dispose of the car when it comes to the end of its life,’ says Jerry Hardcastle, Vice President of Vehicle Design & Development at Nissan Technical Centre Europe. ‘Although the LEAF is designed to last as long as any conventional car, some batteries will become available from accident-damaged cars sooner and we must manage the use of the parts now.’ The first large-scale demonstration of renewable generation and battery storage using LEAF batteries has been sited at Nissan’s global headquarters. A joint venture established by Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation – called 4R Energy – has begun tests using solar panels and second-life lithium-ion batteries previously used in Nissan LEAFs. Electricity for the new storage system is generated through solar cells (photovoltaic panels) installed at Nissan’s offices and is stored in the lithium-ion batteries. The power is then used to charge electric vehicles.
With seven charging stations (consisting of three quick charge and four normal charge) connected to the solar grid at Nissan’s HQ, the total electricity that can be generated and stored is the equivalent to fully charging approximately 1800 Nissan LEAFs annually.
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