Jaguar Land Rover repurposes old car batteries for grid-scale energy storage
Image credit: JLR
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to create one of the largest energy storage systems in the UK from second-hand electric vehicle batteries.
The project, which is in collaboration with Wykes Engineering, could be used to store excess electricity generated by renewables such as solar and wind and help the National Grid deal with peaks in demand.
JLR said that 30 second-hand batteries from its Jaguar I-PACE series can store around 2.5MWh of energy – enough to power 250 homes for a day, although it aims to ramp this up to a total of 7.5MWh of energy by the end of 2023.
Reusing the batteries also helps the firm adopt circular economy principles and limit the use of virgin materials.
The batteries supplied have initially been taken from prototype and engineering test vehicles, but more containers will be created to house additional second-hand batteries removed from used production vehicles in the future.
The inconsistency of renewable energy production is one reason why power grids are still reliant on fossil fuels. For example, solar panels cannot generate energy at night, and wind turbines do not work when the air is still.
Battery storage systems are thought to be critical to decarbonising the energy grid, as they can deal with rapid peaks in demand, and maximise solar and wind energy capture for use when needed.
Each battery in the new project is linked to an advanced inverter to maximise efficiency and is capable of supplying power direct to the National Grid during peak hours as well as drawing power out of the grid during off-peak hours to store for future use.
The system is designed to be as simple as possible, with no need for additional manufacturing steps or the removal of battery modules – the batteries are simply removed from the Jaguar I-PACE and slotted into racks in the containers on-site.
JLR said the system is part of its strategy to make the business net zero carbon by 2039. Batteries removed from its electric vehicles typically have around 70-80 per cent of their energy capacity left. Once the battery health falls below the required level for energy storage, JLR plans to recycle them so that they raw materials can be recovered for reuse.
Reuben Chorley, sustainable industrial operations director at JLR, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Wykes Engineering on this pioneering project that will help unlock the true potential of renewable energy. Developing second-life battery projects like this is crucial to helping JLR adopt a new circular economy business model and drive us toward achieving carbon net zero by 2039.”
David Wykes, managing director of Wykes Engineering, said: “One of the major benefits of the system we’ve developed is that the containers are connected to the grid in such a way that they can absorb solar energy that could otherwise be lost when the grid reaches capacity.
“This excess energy can now be stored in the second life I-PACE batteries and discharged later. This allows us to ‘overplant’ the solar park and maximise the amount of power we generate for the area of land we are using.”
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