One U.S. company has found a way to put used EV batteries to good use.
- Upcycled energy storage company Hardened Network Solutions, Inc. (HNSI) uses electric vehicle (EV) batteries as an energy storage platform in its backup generators.
- The generators are customizable to the customers’ needs, but the base product is able to produce around three days of backup power. The Connecticut-based company claims in a press release that its generators perform better than comparable diesel-powered generators.
- Unlike diesel generators that need to be refueled every six to eight hours, the battery powered generators can supply supplemental energy for 24 hours, all without producing tailpipe emissions.
- Customer customizations mean the generators can potentially last up to five days.
Why it’s news
One concern opponents of EVs often bring up is how best to dispose of EV batteries. The batteries contain toxic materials, raising questions about environmental harm when the batteries are disposed of.
However, companies like HNSI finding uses for the old batteries is evidence that there could be more uses for discarded batteries.
As EVs get older, their batteries begin to lose capacity, meaning the vehicle can’t travel as far. When EV batteries are replaced, they are only around 20% to 30% depleted, leaving 70% to 80% storage capacity still available.
“Electric car batteries aren’t very difficult to get rid of because even if they’ve outlasted the usefulness for an electric car, they’re still worth quite a lot to someone. There’s a strong demand for secondary-life batteries. It’s not like when your gas-powered engine dies and it goes to the scrapyard,” Consumer Reports director Jake Fisher explains.
The EV batteries are no longer effective for EVs, but they do provide a good source of energy storage.
After these recycled batteries have passed their useful stage, the raw elements of the batteries still hold value for some, Devin Pratt reports in Consumer Reports.
EVs are still new and it will take time for businesses to learn how EV batteries can be useful to them, but HNSI is just one example of how that process is already beginning.
“The national infrastructure can’t handle the electrified future that is being rolled out. Power generation and distribution fails to meet demand in many parts of the country on a daily basis, but even if the current national power generation framework could produce unlimited amounts of electricity, the grid infrastructure couldn’t handle it. Therefore, the way for us to evolve into the ‘electrified future’ is by moving storage to the edge. Upgrading the grid will take massive investment of time and money. Positioning storage where you know you’ll need uninterrupted power is the solution. HNSI is here to meet that challenge,” says HNSI’s CEO Matt Gove.