Chinese-Swedish car and bus maker Volvo and Stena Recycling subsidiary Batteryloop have inked a global deal to repurpose batteries from Volvo’s electric buses.
The “second life” deal will help to conserve resources as Batteryloop puts them to use in buildings and charging stations.
Lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, especially when subjected to high rates of charge and discharge.
After a time capacity is reduced to the extent that they are no longer useful for the demanding conditions of powering a heavy vehicle, but there is still plenty of life left in them for less demanding applications.
By repurposing Volvo’s electric bus batteries, Batteryloop will also help reduce demand for the minerals needed to create static energy storage batteries.
“Volvo Buses is one of the pioneers in electromobility which provides clean, quiet and efficient public transport,” said Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses in a statement to the press.
“We have a clear-cut sustainability strategy at every single stage of our value chain, and we are now taking yet another step forward through planned, consistent reuse of bus batteries.
Rasmus Bergström, president of Batteryloop, said the agreement also allowed for safe and environmentally suitable recycling when the batteries come to the end of their second life as energy storage units.
“We thus offer a sustainable circular solution for Volvo Buses batteries. What is more, this cooperation means we can convert a cost into a source of revenue for the customer,” he said.
The new deal covers batteries from all Volvo electric buses, including those that will be trialled by Western Australia.
While many of Volvo’s electric buses are currently located in Europe, Agnevall says this will change as demand for zero carbon public transport increases.
“We see a steadily increasing demand for electric buses from cities all over the world, and since we entered the electric bus market early, the numbers of used batteries are set to increase,” said Agnevall.
Demand for stationary energy storage is also rising, so the reuse of electric vehicle batteries can also help to meet that demand as people and businesses seek to reduce carbon emissions and thereby demand on the grid.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.