Renault to Build Massive Energy Plant Using Old EV Batteries

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【Summary】The company has selected France (Douai and Cléon) and Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) as the locations for the second-life EV battery facilities.

Original Michael Cheng    Oct 03, 2018 1:45 PM PT
Renault to Build Massive Energy Plant Using Old EV Batteries

Maximizing an EV battery's life cycle is an effective way to get the most out of the units for automakers. Nowadays, one of such methods being deployed by EV manufacturers involves the establishment of an energy storage plant.

Leading auto brand Renault is the latest company to reveal plans for building energy storage sites designed to house used EV batteries. The company has selected France (Douai and Cléon) and Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) as the locations for the facilities.

New Energy Sites by 2019

Powered by used EV power cells, these buildings will facilitate second-life EV battery programs, which allow Renault to expand the application of portable batteries beyond transportation – specifically in the fields of solar energy, remote energy storage, industrial power distribution and renewable electricity production. Interestingly, the sites in France are also Renault production plants, while the location in Germany was previously an industrial coal-fired plant.

"Our stationary storage solution aims to offset these differences: it delivers its reserves to a point of imbalance in the grid at a given time to reduce the effects," said Nicolas Schottey, Director of the Groupe Renault New Business Energy program.

"By helping to maintain the balance of the grid, the stationary storage system will boost the economic attractiveness of low-carbon energies."

The second-life battery facilities will be operational by 2019. Total capacity is expected to reach 60 MWH (storage) and 70 MW (delivery), with plans to expand to 100 MW in the future. Within this timeline, Renault will add more than 2,000 used EV battery packs to achieve its goal. As power from the energy storage sites will be utilized to ease demand for electricity in populated cities, it is likely that that the systems will be connected to local grids.

The used battery packs will come from the Renault Zoe, Twingo and Kangoo ZE. In addition to used power cells, excess battery inventory and replacement units from outdated EV models may also be leveraged at the site. Such products are new (unused) and never sold.

Remote Battery Systems

Renault's portable battery solutions will consist of large containers that can be used to power heavy-duty equipment, homes and systems without connection to the grid. Inside the containers, second-life EV batteries are secured neatly on racks. Battery monitoring devices, controllers and safety disconnects are provided to ensure safe handling and maintenance.

According to the automaker, a single container is capable of powering up to 5,000 homes. A diagram released by the business suggests the remote battery solution could serve as a bridge between wind farms and busy cities.

"One of the main challenges when it comes to increasing the share of renewable sources in the energy mix is to manage the discrepancies between electricity consumption and electricity production at a given moment," said Schottey.

Renault will be working with several partners to streamline development of the sustainable energy plant. The company has tapped La Banque des Territoires, the Mitsui Group, Demeter and The Mobility House to take on various aspects of the project.

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