Grading Used Nissan LEAF Electric Vehicle Batteries for Second Life Applications
Solartron EIS technology has been used by WMG at the University of Warwick to grade used electric vehicle batteries from the Nissan LEAF, for second life applications. With new algorithms and technology, the process now takes minutes instead of hours.
Image above from the University of Warwick.
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Second Life for EV Batteries
Currently, at the end of an electric vehicle’s lifetime, the battery is usually recycled by the manufacturer. However, the lithium ion battery could still have a storage capacity of >70%.
The used batteries are still suitable for less demanding “second life” applications, such as domestic and industrial energy storage. Re-using battery packs and modules is much more eco-friendly than disposing of them, or recycling them before the end of their usable lifetime.
Grading Used Batteries
Before re-use, the batteries need to be graded to check their capacity. Usually this is a long and expensive process.
However, a new process for grading has been developed by researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick and AMETEK Nissan. It’s much faster than traditional methods, taking minutes rather than hours.
The process has been tested with used Nissan LEAF batteries. With this greatly increased through-put, it’s now feasible to grade large numbers of lithium ion batteries from electric cars to assess them for re-use.
Nissan LEAF Batteries
Car manufacturer Nissan wanted to find ways to speed up the grading process for used Li-ion batteries from their Nissan LEAF. 50 used car batteries were used to develop the existing grading process. They were challenged to demonstrate 1MWh of energy storage by the end of 2019.
The “UK Energy Storage Laboratory” project was part-funded by BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and led by NISSAN, WMG at the University of Warwick, AMETEK and Element Energy.
Testing the New Methodology
A safe, fast and robust methodology for grading used automotive Lithium-ion batteries at pack level was developed at WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre. In a pilot project, the target of 1MWh of second-life energy storage was successfully achieved.
They have developed a way of grading modules (the sub-components of battery packs) in as little as 3 minutes – a process that previously took over 3 hours.
Once graded, the packs can be relied upon to provide energy storage for products in industry and in the home, such as storing energy generated from solar panels. They can also be used to sustain a consistent energy supply, enabling more renewable but intermittent energy sources to be added to the grid.
The technology and algorithms developed for this project is now available in a system from AMETEK:
- Fast SoH (State of Health) analysis in minutes.
- More than a standard battery cycler.
- Extra functionality for electric vehicle applications: hybrid HEV, PHEV and eV Second Life.
- EIS (impedance) included as standard.
- Multiple current ranges.
- Regenerative technology for low running costs.
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