Reused Car Batteries Rev Up Electric Grid

When aging vehicle batteries lack the juice to power your car anymore, they may still hold energy. Yet it’s tough to find new uses for lithium-ion batteries with different makers, ages, and sizes. A solution is urgently needed because battery recycling options are scarce.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new technology enabling battery reuse: a type of power electronics equipment that can manage a variety of EV batteries as an energy storage system for an electric utility. The mix of batteries can be controlled to release a predetermined amount of electricity to the grid. “We have each battery pack discharging at a different rate, while ensuring that the target energy output stays the same,” said ORNL’s Michael Starke.

When electricity demand spikes, utilities can use this stored energy instead of burning fossil fuels at “peaking” plants. The approach can reduce pollution, prolong the usefulness of EV batteries and make electricity service more reliable, at almost no cost.

Full report here: An Intelligent Power Electronic System for Secondary Use Batteries: Authors, Michael Starke, Steven Campbell, Benjamin Dean and Madhu Chinthavali, Power Electronics Systems Integration Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

“This paper presents a plug-and-play power electronic system for integration of multiple energy storage system technologies. The system uses a communication and control architecture with individual developed modules to support scaling to larger systems for the electric grid. An optimization framework is also presented to demonstrate the functionality of the system. This system is shown to work in hardware with a constructed testbed to demonstrate different use cases and systems. Results are presented for a full efficiency cycle test.”

Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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