The concept of reusing discarded electric vehicle batteries to offer cost-effective renewable energy storage has been around for a while, but it is finally nearing a tipping point. This is due to a high number of retired EV batteries entering the market, major technology improvements, sustainable energy regulations, and growing government assistance, all of which are increasing the demand for grid storage.
Researchers from Cornell University have published a report in Science Advances that explores methods for recycling older lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries to reduce their carbon impact. The study looks at how battery reuse and recycling affect energy output as well as the environmental impact of lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries.
According to the study, reusing a lithium-ion EV battery rather than recycling it reduces its carbon footprint by 17%. In addition, wind and solar energy can be stored using batteries with low energy storage.
The study is essential for developing lithium-ion batteries for EVs that are sustainable rather than high-performance. In addition, the repurposing of EV batteries ?will be necessary to meet the zero-emissions goal.
“What to do with all these retired electric vehicle batteries is going to be a huge issue,” said Fengqi You, one of the study authors.
The researchers analyzed environmental and economic choices in the manufacturing, usage, and recycling of batteries. However, how long used batteries can provide energy storage is an issue that must be investigated further. When utilized in energy-storage applications, second-life batteries have around a decade of life, according to an MIT study published in Applied Energy in 2020.
“Lithium-ion batteries are designed today for performance and not for recycling or second life,” said You. “There’s very little discussion right now about the environmental dimensions of improving battery design for recycling or reuse.”
The demand for recycling operations capable of disassembling lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries and recovering the main components is greater than the supply. The sheer volume of spent batteries for recycling will only raise demand in the future.