1. Lisa Wilson
  2. Sustainable Mobility
  3. Friday, 19 June 2020
Hi Everyone

I have recently been seeing stories like this one about using old EV batteries for utility storage.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the viability of doing this and possible challenges?
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It makes sense but ultimately these reused EV batteries need to be recycled as part of a circular economy.
References
  1. https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/the-afterlife-of-electric-vehicles-battery-recycling-and-repurposing/
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Old batteries should go back to the supplier and be made into new batteries. Colbalt is not a friendly mineral to mine. A buy back scheme should be enforced. Let’s hope Tesla’s new million mile batterie technology is more sustainable.
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This story in the Union of Concerned Scientist blog discusses a range of issues related to re-using and recycling EV batteries.

I believe that manufacturers should be made legally responsible for ensuring that EV batteries are always re-used or recycled. If re-used, it would be with an obligation that they will eventually be recycled. Done properly, this would largely eliminate wasteful disposal, plus provide a powerful incentive for manufacturers to make EV batteries circular by design.
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George Seinet said:
Old batteries should go back to the supplier and be made into new batteries. Colbalt is not a friendly mineral to mine. A buy back scheme should be enforced.


I totally agree there should be a buyback scheme. However, isn't it more efficient to first re-use (when possible), then do recycling and materials recovery after the batteries are no longer viable for energy storage?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Given that intermittency is a characteristic of the most widely used forms of renewable energy (namely wind and solar), storage is a very important issue if we want to achieve 100% renewables. Using EVs has the potential to lower the cost of grid storage as well as making EVs more circular. This seems like a fantastic win-win. But often the devil is in the detail, so it will be interesting to see how viable and effective this is when it's being widely used at scale.

In an effort to expand my own knowledge of this topic, I did a bit of online research.

Below are some links that I found:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421517307619

https://pdf.sciencedirectassets.com/277910/1-s2.0-S1876610217X00076/1-s2.0-S187661021730989X/main.pdf

https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC112543/saslab_final_report_2018_2018-08-28.pdf

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/69017.pdf

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/second-life-ev-batteries-the-newest-value-pool-in-energy-storage

I've only skimmed them so far, so can offer no conclusions.

If anyone else knows other credible resources, it would be great if you can share.
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