ABB , the leading power and automation technology group and General Motors have signed a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding for an R&D project that will investigate uses for electric vehicle batteries once their useful life in the vehicle is over.
The project intends to examine the potential of reusing spent lithium-ion battery packs from GM’s electric car, the Chevrolet Volt as cost-effective energy storage devices, which will improve the efficiency of electrical systems as they evolve into smart grids.
Bazmi Husain, head of ABB’s smart grids initiative says that future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure, both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions.
The MoU will explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits.
According to GM, the Volt’s battery will still have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life.
According to Micky Bly, Executive Director of Electrical and Hybrid Systems, who announced the partnership at the EV Battery Tech conference in Troy, Michigan, their collaboration with ABB will help find solutions to make the Volt batteries provide environmental benefits that stretch beyond the highway and optimise the full lifecycle of the battery.
Economical grid storage is often identified as a key enabler technology of smart grids that will drive the wider use of a variety of applications, including:
- Managing the intermittency of wind and solar resources
- Mitigating spikes in electricity demand
- Providing backup power
- Allowing cheaper off-peak power to be used during peak periods
ABB is currently at work on more than 20 projects around the world examining all aspects of the smart grid from energy storage, network management, metering and communication to distribution automation and home automation systems.