Hyundai Wants to Build Energy Storage Units with Used Battery Packs

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【Summary】Hyundai has teamed with Finnish energy-technology company Wärtsilä to use use “second-life” electric-car batteries for stationary energy storage.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 30, 2018 1:00 PM PT
Hyundai Wants to Build Energy Storage Units with Used Battery Packs

Now that automakers are all working on electric vehicles, the issue of what happens to used batteries has come up. Hyundai, with help from Finnish energy-technology company Wärtsilä, has come up with a solution — turning them into a way to store energy. The South Korean automaker announced the new plan earlier this week. 

Old Batteries As A Form Of Energy Storage

At the moment, companies only have two options when it comes to used car batteries — use them as a form of storage or recycle them for materials. Hyundai and Wärtsilä want to do the former to help the energy storage market, which is growing. Going down the route of using batteries to store energy should also help with the adoption of renewable energy. 

As The Drive points out, using batteries as an energy source helps fill in gaps for when other sources of renewable energy aren't operating at their fullest. Wind mills and solar panels are fantastics ways of getting energy, but for times when the sun isn't completely shining or the wind isn't blowing, electric sources using old batteries can help add some juice to the mix. And the batteries would also help the sources harvest more energy. 

Hyundai has reportedly already made a one-megawatt-hour test array utilizing old batteries from the Ioniq Electric and Kia Soul EV. In the near future, Hyundai wants to provide its used batteries to Wärtsilä. The latter will use its extensive network to provide those batteries to other companies in need. Apparently, Wärtsilä's network extends across 177 countries around the world. 

In the near future, Hyundai plans to have 29 gigawatt-hours of used electric-car batteries ready for use by 2025. That figure exceeds what the stationary storage market currently has on tap, which is 10 gigawatt-hours for storage. 

"Wärtsilä through the capabilities and integration experience of Greensmith Energy, will develop a cleaner and more powerful approach to second-life battery applications for Hyundai Motor Group," said Javier Cavada, President of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. "Our strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group represents the life-cycle vision Wärtsilä strives to deliver to our customers and partners around the world. Incorporating second-life-EV batteries into our energy and integration business underscores our deep commitment to building sustainable societies with smart technologies." 

How Others Are Using Old Batteries

Hyundai isn't the first automaker to explore utilizing used electric-car batteries. Tesla already sells used components to other companies for energy storage. Other automakers, like BMW, Nissan, and Daimler have discussed the idea of marketing their used EV batteries as a way to store energy. 

Nissan has come up with an innovative way to use old electric-vehicle batteries. The Japanese automaker plans to use old batteries from the Nissan Leaf to power streetlights. Renault, Nissan's partner, is using used batteries as part of its "Smart Island" project, which it's using as a way to show how different forms of energy can eliminate fossil fuels. 

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