Melbourne firm gives new life to EV batteries

Power solutions firm Relectrify has received a grant to roll out second-life lithium-ion batteries for power storage

second-life EV battery

A common concern about electric vehicles is their impact on the environment when it comes to disposing of old batteries.

While lithium-ion batteries do eventually lose enough capacity to no longer be effective for vehicle use, they can be repurposed for a range of other duties.

One Melbourne power solutions company is leading the way, and has just received a $1.49 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to advance its commercial scale battery and inverter system using repurposed second-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The money will contribute to a $3.3 million project that will see Relectrify finalise development and undertake certifications ahead of the roll-out of 20 36kW/120kWh battery units across commercial and industrial customer applications throughout Australia.

Relectrify co-founders Daniel Crowley and Valentin Muenzel with the Aussie company's battery management system and inverter.

The advanced BMS+Inverter battery control technology can boost the lifetime and performance of batteries, while reducing battery system costs. The technology, which was developed with support from ARENA in 2018, combines both hardware and software.

EV batteries are often considered to have reached end of life when their batteries have degraded to 80 per cent of their initial capacity. While EV drivers may seek a new battery to improve driving range, the second-life battery remains a valuable and useful asset in stationary storage applications.

Relectrify’s project will showcase the capability of its technology to extend the lifetime of batteries, while also highlighting the opportunity to reduce battery cost further using second-life batteries.

The 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.

Relectrify will offer their batteries to selected Australian customers and electricity network businesses.

relectrify second-life EV batteries

Prospective customers include utilities, industry and communities, both grid-connected and off-grid.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project will also help to reduce costs and improve pathways for battery storage to be installed at commercial scale, particularly in industrial settings.

“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.

“Relectrify’s battery technology could be rolled out in a range of applications such as solar integration, providing backup power on farms and to microgrids, deferring the need for network upgrade and replacing diesel generators.”


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