Most solar battery storage systems in operation today are built with new battery cells. However, a California-based company believes that leveraging used EV battery packs is a simpler and more cost-effective approach to storing electricity.

EV batteries deteriorate over time, making them unsuitable for use in EVs. However, they often retain significant capacity that can be employed for energy storage.

While it’s commonly accepted that depleted EV batteries should be recycled, B2U, a California start-up, suggests a different approach: using them for solar energy storage before recycling.

B2U’s technique

B2U acquires depleted EV batteries from Nissan LEAF and Honda Clarity cars. The majority of critical materials found within depleted EV batteries, such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt, can be recovered and reused.

The company leverages the batteries (pictured above) to store electricity during periods of surplus production. It then sells the surplus electricity back to the grid during times of higher cost.

By reducing the need to manufacture new battery cells, B2U’s strategy cuts solar energy storage costs by approximately 50 percent. The strategy also extends the lifespan of the EV batteries by up to five years.

The benefits of reusing EV batteries

Extending the lifespan of EV batteries helps minimize the environmental impact associated with their manufacturing and usage. By prolonging battery life, the need for additional exploitation of natural resources and raw materials is reduced.

According to CleanTechnica, the demand for utility-scale battery storage is projected to increase significantly. Capacity is expected to grow from 1.5 gigawatts in 2020 to 30 gigawatts by 2025.

Moreover, the high cost of storage is one of the main challenges facing the renewables sector. Storing electricity is often more expensive than producing it.

Repurposing EV batteries could play a crucial role in solving these problems. B2U offers a convenient and adaptable approach by reusing EV batteries from various manufacturers without requiring disassembly.

In addition, automakers can generate additional revenue by selling or leasing retired packs to grid storage companies. They could then afford to cut the prices of EVs. Currently, EV batteries account for approximately 30 percent of an EV’s overall cost.

Next steps

B2U plans to expand its storage facilities to demonstrate the effectiveness of this concept before offering its hardware and software to other storage project developers.

However, widespread deployment of this technology is currently limited. The company estimates that only around 6 percent of decommissioned EV batteries in the US will be used for grid-scale storage by 2027.

Despite obstacles, B2U is confident that its strategy is reliable, profitable, and capable of being scaled up successfully.

B2U is not the only company that sees the potential of reusing EV batteries for renewables storage. In August, Jaguar and Wykes Engineering announced a partnership to build an energy storage system using old Jaguar EV batteries.

Image Source: Freeman Hall