2Bcycled investigating second life for Li-Ion batteries
At present, from an economic viewpoint, the recycling of Li-Ion batteries from hybrid cars is extremely costly, in addition to which it is ecologically wasteful to melt down the batteries straight away, while there are sufficient possible applications for a second-hand Li-Ion battery at the end of its first life on the road. The project ‘2Bcycled’ is involved in the examination of these second-life possibilities.
A pilot scheme on the island of Pampus using batteries from a converted E-Golf from 2008 aims to come up with clear evidence on the reusability of batteries of this kind. Hector Timmers, manager at ARN, explained that there are effectively two problems with the recycling of Li-Ion batteries. Firstly, because of the still relatively low volumes, the recycling costs are exorbitantly high. He went on to discuss the ecological consequences.
Destruction of energy capacity
Quite aside from the economic aspect (the high costs) Timmers wondered about the extent to which it is at all desirable, from an ecological viewpoint, to immediately recycle Li-Ion batteries at the end of their first useful life. “Such a move is after all a destruction of energy capacity. Why should it not be possible to grant these batteries a second life in a stationary application or as an electrical power source on the water, or to use them in other applications where the kilowatt hour ratio per kilogram is less crucial? One of the recommendations of the former SafeBAT project, which focused on the safety and standardisation of EV batteries, was indeed to come up with an inventory of such options. The eventual result of the project was a follow-up project, 2Bcycled, a feasibility study into the deployment of end-of-life HEV batteries.” Alongside ARN (from the car recycling sector), DNV GL (formerly KEMA), the University of Applied Sciences Arnhem Nijmegen (HAN), the University of Technology Eindhoven and network manager Alliander are all involved in 2Bcycled.
Pampus trial project
2Bcycled has now launched an initial trial project on the island of Pampus. Pampus is not connected to the electricity grid and the power supply takes the form of solar panels, 6 micro wind turbines and as backup a diesel generator. As Timmers continued, “Alliander can optimise the deployment of this diesel generator by alternating with the solar panels and micro wind turbines, whenever energy storage is possible. In this way, the supply of and demand for energy can be far better matched, so that for example peak flows need not be supplied by the generator and the generator does not have to be run at night in order to supply power to the cooling systems. In this case, the use of second-life batteries represents an interesting option. We must also not forget that this solution is far cheaper than new batteries, which can easily cost several thousand euros.”
The aim is to evaluate the pilot project in Pampus after one year. “By then we should have achieved clarity on the degree of ageing of the batteries, the level of energy output, etc. The test bed aims to demonstrate whether the system will work, and whether it is technically viable. If these questions are answered positively, the first important barrier will have been overcome.”
Source: GO Mobility, RAI Association
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