Environment /

Company Uses EV Batteries To Store Power For California's Electric Grid

Repurposing EV batteries lowers costs and ensures toxic batteries don't pollute soil and water

Thousands of used electric vehicle batteries have been repurposed by a California company which is using them to support the state’s power grid and help lower the cost of storing carbon-free energy.

B2U Storage Solutions has announced the launch of a large-scale facility in Lancaster, California that provides 25 megawatt-hours of storage capacity. The project uses 1,300 EV battery packs provided by automakers Honda and Nissan, making it the largest energy storage facility in the world that uses repurposed EV batteries.

The Sierra hybrid storage facility is connected to California’s electrical grid, which allows the company to sell power and grid services into California’s wholesale power market. The company has also successfully tested the technology with GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 batteries, showing its ability to operate any EV battery.

“B2U’s EPS technology has been developed to address the challenges of second life in large scale energy storage. EV battery packs are deployed in cabinet enclosures utilizing the pack’s existing battery management system, virtually eliminating repurposing costs,” Freeman Hall, co-founder and CEO of B2U Storage Solutions, said in a press release. “The EPS system’s Cabinet Controllers connect and disconnect batteries wired in series and parallel strings during charge and discharge cycles so that weaker batteries with lower capacity do not limit the output of stronger batteries. This approach enables our system to achieve efficient energy yield despite the variance in capacity inherent in second life batteries.”

As more drivers shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs, concerns are growing over what to do with EV batteries once they die. A study commissioned by the Swedish environmental Protection Agency determined that in the U.S., Australia, and many European countries, only between two to 11 percent of EV batteries are being recycled.

There are health and environmental concerns surrounding used EV batteries which are not properly stored or recycled after their use. If improperly disposed, lithium-ion EV batteries — which are typically produced with cobalt, nickel, manganese and other rare earth minerals — can possibly contaminate soil and water supplies if they end up in landfills.

“Second life and re-use helps the overall lifecycle be more energy efficient, given all the efforts that go into making that battery,” Hall told the Times of India. “So you’re getting maximum value out of it.”

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