Melbourne based Relectrify will accelerate the deployment of its innovative big battery technology, which uses recycled electric vehicle batteries, providing a low cost battery option and providing EV batteries with a second life.
The Relectrify battery systems have been designed to provide a modular energy storage solution, with each providing 36kW/120kWh of storage capacity and are able to be combined to provide up to 2.4MWh of total storage, similar in size to Tesla’s Megapack product.
Relectrify said that it had developed an innovative combined battery management and inverter system that optimises the performance of the batteries, allowing for an additional lifetime of 3,000 charge-discharge cycles from the recycled batteries.
Electric vehicle batteries are often replaced once they have degraded to less than 80 per cent of their initial storage capacity. While this degradation results in a notable loss of mileage for electric vehicles, the batteries still retain a sufficient level of storage capacity for use in energy storage systems.
Second hand batteries can be as much as 50 per cent cheaper than new batteries, creating the potential for significant cost reductions in new big battery deployments that can also significantly expand their useful life.
Relectrifiy will expand its Australian-based operations after securing a $1.49 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
In all, Relectrifiy will spend $3.3 million finalise the development of its big battery technology and completed necessary certifications before deploying 20 units at commercial and industrial sites as part of a trial of the technology.
“This trial is expected to deliver a significant reduction in the cost of installing batteries, while also helping to further integrate renewables into the grid,” federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor said.
“Importantly, it will also help to address end-of-life battery waste issues by repurposing and reusing EV batteries.”
The Australian trial will follow a similar trial of the Relectrify battery system in New Zealand announced late last year, in partnership with utility provider Counties Power, undertaken in remote rural areas.
The company’s battery management system had was also supported by a grant from ARENA, and the CEO of ARENA, Darren Miller, said that reusing batteries from electric vehicles would help to drive down the costs of battery storage systems.
“Battery storage is already playing a crucial role in supporting the transition to renewable energy within industry, however, we need to do more to make it commercially viable,” Miller said.
“Second-life batteries have significant potential to drive down costs, and Relectrify’s battery management and inverter technology can provide what is needed to transform them into valuable assets for businesses looking to make the switch.”
Miller added that the systems designed by Relectrify would be suitable for a range of applications, including for commercial and industrial sites, as well as in off grid and micro grid deployments.
“This new commercial-scale battery – roughly ten times the size of a Tesla Powerwall 2 – will provide a cost-effective form of battery storage for use in commercial and industrial settings,” Miller said.
“Relecrify’s battery technology could be rolled out in a range of applications such as solar integration, providing backup power on farms and to micro grids, deferring the need for network upgrade and replacing diesel generators.”
Relectrify will become the latest in a growing number of companies looking to solve the question of what happens to electric vehicle batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.
Envirostream Australia announced last year that it would start recycling electric vehicle batteries, recovering the materials from the batteries rather than repurposing them, saying that around 90 per cent of an electric vehicle battery by weight was able to be recovered and reused.
Car manufacturer Nissan has also indicated that it would look to recycle batteries used in the company’s electric vehicles, including the popular Nissan Leaf, suggesting that it could extend the life of the batteries by a further 10 to 15 years by repurposing them for energy storage applications.