Energy storage facility in California deploys 1,300 used EV batteries

None of the batteries used have been modified before repurposing.
Ameya Paleja
Second life EV batteries stacked up in specialized containers
Second life EV batteries stacked up in specialized containers

B2U Storage Solutions 

SEPV Sierra, a solar and energy storage facility based in Lancaster, California, has found a way to repurpose batteries used in electric vehicles. The company's patented technology allows them to be used for large-scale energy storage, giving them a second life, Electrek reported.

After years of being powered by fossil fuels, urban transportation is set for a major overhaul with the rising popularity of electric vehicles (EVs). Although Elon Musk's Tesla turned the tide, popular car names in the automotive industry have now caught up and are offering EV versions of their legacy car models.

The sudden shift to EVs also presents another problem of the disposal of car batteries once they reach the end of their life cycle. Currently, the EV recycling industry is still in its infancy, and in just over a decade, the world will have millions of batteries that need to be disposed of. This is quite tricky since EV batteries contain lithium-ion cells that need to be carefully dismantled or have a tendency to explode when done incorrectly, the BBC said in one of its earlier reports.

Repurposing without modification

The SEPV Sierra is a hybrid solar and storage facility built by B2U Storage Solutions and demonstrates the latter's EV Pack Storage (EPS) technology. At the Sierra facility, 1,300 used EV batteries have been stacked up in dedicated cabinets and monitored autonomously for the highest yields.

The battery cabinets are thermally controlled and allow the used batteries to be stacked up in their original casing, eliminating any need for modification before repurposing. The company says on its website that the batteries are connected in series and parallel strings so that the lower capacities of some batteries do not limit the output of the stronger ones.

The entire system is autonomously controlled and automatically disconnects components that could pose a risk by deviating from its design limits and operating specifications.

Currently, the system deployed uses 1,300 EV batteries sourced from Nissan and Honda. The company has also tested batteries from EVs like Chevy Bolt and Telsa Model 3 and found that its EPS system can be configured with them too.

The website claims that the current storage capacity of the SEPV Sierra facility is 25 MWh and interconnected near the load, where grid services are needed the most. The facility is also UL-9540 certified energy storage system, the largest in the world utilizing second-life EV batteries. UK-9540 is a safety standard for an energy storage system.

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