Japanese car manufacturer Nissan signed partnership with Green Charge Networks to deploy second-life lithium-ion vehicle batteries for stationary commercial energy storage in the U.S. and international markets.
There are several driving forces behind the project – cost efficiency, reusing currently redundant yet still usable batteries and, of course, environmental motifs. Nissan‘s Leaf is the world’s bestselling electric vehicle, but company wants to expand its green technologies to further establish its leadership in commercial sustainable energy projects.
Nissan Motor Company has conducted an extensive research in Japan, the U.S. and Europe to see if using batteries from Leaf outside of the car can be a sustainable project. Such second-life battery application in stationary storage unit has a cost advantage over traditional units, opening up new markets where incentive programs are currently not offered.
Engineers from Nissan and Green Charge Networks, which is the largest provider of commercial energy storage, worked extensively for more than a year to ensure that such unit would meet requirements for safety, reliability and would offer needed performance for commercial customers.
First such stationary second-life battery storage unit will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer. In this device multiple Nissan Leaf batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand, creating savings while also benefiting the utility grid. Later such systems will be available for number of different applications. For example, such units can be paired with renewable energy sources such as wind turbines or solar panels to further reduce a facility’s environmental footprint and enhance energy savings.
Reusing battery pack, which is no longer good enough to run the vehicle because of limited lifetime and declined storage capacity, and which is taken out of the Leaf, is a significant environmental as well as practical project. These batteries still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, which enables engineers to reuse a majority of Leaf battery packs in non-automotive applications.
For customers it is both – environmental friendliness as well as saving the costs. Vic Shao, CEO of Green Charge Networks, further confirms it by saying that “this partnership is ultimately about power efficiency – reducing our carbon footprint, stress on the grid and energy costs”. This is the first partnership of this kind and the first time second-life batteries from electric vehicle will be commercially available.
Electric cars are arguably our future of transportation. However, there is quite a big controversy following electric vehicles like a dark shadow. Electric cars do not emit any greenhouse gasses (no gasses at all), but at the other end of the line there are huge power plants that do. Also, they use batteries that use components from different parts of the world, which adds shipment to the equation and footprint on our planet. Then there is not a small matter of waste as batteries have limited lifetime. But this project and number of other technological advancements prove that there are solutions to every problem when great minds are in action. Reusing old batteries from most popular electric vehicles is smart, practical, cost effective as well as green solution that will benefit everyone involved.