The circularity of every asset and every resource counts toward our efforts to live sustainably. Previously in the absence of viable and cost-effective battery recycling technology and battery repurposing capabilities, most Lithium battery waste was discarded or disposed of without realizing the untapped potential it holds.
Battery repurposing, reuse, or ‘second life’, is the most environmentally-conscious way to deal with used EV batteries that lose an estimated 10% to 30% of their total capacity after reaching 3-5 years of sustained use. Through battery reuse, we prolong the life of existing energy transition ecosystem assets, reducing average annual GHG emissions and generating additional revenue. The practice of battery repurposing is also vital to slowing down the burgeoning demand for new battery and cell manufacturing.
This edition of LOHUM Battery Decoded explores five practical applications that can be made with repurposed batteries, before ushering them into the recycling stream. Battery reuse or battery repurposing unlocks the residual potential, value, and utility of batteries that reach end-of-first-life. Currently in the vast majority of battery reuse cases, EV batteries are repurposed to build sustainable Second Life Batteries (SLBs), typically in the form of Energy Storage Systems (ESS or BESS).
Second-life battery solutions stand as a cost-effective way for individuals and families to switch to sustainable energy storage solutions, reduce dependence on the power grid, and insulate themselves against periods of inconsistent power supply, or energy crises. According to reports published by Deloitte, repurposed Second Life batteries may be 50% to 70% more economical than new batteries and ESS.
The Second Life batteries, tested, refurbished, and integrated into sustainable energy storage solutions for homes, store excess energy generated from renewable sources (such as solar panels) during the day and release it during times of peak demand, or at night. This enables homes to benefit from a round-the-clock energy supply.
In the face of unexpected power outages, blackouts, brownouts, disasters, or emergencies, repurposed or reconditioned batteries can mitigate energy deficits in critical services such as hospitals, government institutions, fire stations, and more.
Thus, all critical infrastructure can be insulated through Second Life sustainable energy storage solutions against unforeseen crises, as well as key infrastructure in remote locations, powered by renewables.
An emerging sub-sector within EV Battery Reuse is Second Life Battery-Powered Solar EV Charging Stations. LOHUM produces EV Charging Stations from used EV batteries capable of charging all varieties of EVs 100% Off-Grid:
The EV charging stations powered by sustainable energy storage solutions can charge multiple vehicles at a time and are capable of delivering round-the-clock off-grid power supply for EVs. These sustainable, low-carbon, and cost-effective charging stations are also vital to fleet electrification efforts, as they reduce strain on the grid and increase the viability of long-distance EV travel.
Thus, we at LOHUM are collaborating with various stakeholders to scale up the proliferation of our sustainable energy storage solutions and EV charging stations.
Solar-powered Second Life ESS effectively enables offices and businesses to become more self-sufficient in terms of energy generation and consumption by reducing reliance on grid-based electricity, which drives down Capital Expenditure, irrespective of industry or sector.
By integrating second-life batteries with solar power, businesses become more resilient to outages, overcome the limitations of remote locations, and contribute to environmental conservation. In addition to lowering CO2e by optimizing the use of renewable energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, SLBs also enable businesses to sell extra or surplus energy stored from renewables back to power grid and power distribution companies for additional revenue.
According to reports published by various sources including the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, repurposing batteries to make sustainable energy storage solutions can contribute to a significant reduction in electronic waste. This closed-loop circularity enabled by battery reuse highlights the significant role repurposed batteries can play in minimizing environmental footprint across all economic activity.
Sustainable energy storage solutions made from second life batteries can provide valuable support to electrical grids by providing stability during peak demand periods or when intermittent renewable energy sources are unable to meet electricity demands. In India, diesel generator sets or arrays (gensets) have been widely used for power backup due to the country’s growing energy demand and power supply that has been playing catch-up.
On the topic of improving grid connectivity and performance via sustainable energy storage solutions made from battery reuse, LOHUM Founder & CEO Rajat Verma had this to say-
“You can think of them as backup batteries for replacing diesel gensets; backup batteries where the cost of energy is very high. So it’s not just within India but it’s also out of India where grid connectivity is very poor in certain nations, within India as well where people use diesel gensets, these batteries proved to be cheaper than actually owning a genset and running it with fuel.”
For grid stabilization, end-of-first-life EV batteries are repurposed and aggregated into large-scale sustainable energy storage solutions. These Second life ESS units, in addition to capturing solar, absorb excess grid energy during low demand for release during periods of high demand or grid instability.
LOHUM has developed proprietary battery testing and diagnostics technology to assess the remaining useful life (RUL) of batteries, via a combination of physics-based and empirical data-based models, with industry-pioneering levels of accuracy never seen before. LOHUM’s turnkey Second Life Battery solutions are built with seamlessly integrated power control, power conversion, and energy management capabilities.
Through integrated battery recycling and battery reuse, LOHUM is helping organize India’s end-of-life EV battery waste problem, aiming to reliably provide uninterrupted power backup for emergency services, schools, dispensaries, agriculture, offices, grids, and more with zero emissions. These repurposed sustainable energy storage solutions benefit the energy security of urban and rural communities alike by ensuring traceability of energy use, and by providing dependable energy systems that are always emergency-ready.
Repurposing batteries before battery recycling is not just about prolonging their lifespan and maximizing profits; battery reuse is a conscious effort to redefine our relationship with technology and waste, aligned with Extended Producer Responsibility.
Embracing the untapped or residual potential of used EV batteries via repurposing them, turns them into assets that facilitate preparedness, responsible resource management, and innovation. Second-life batteries thus play a crucial role in sustainability, energy security, and efficient energy management across a wide variety of sectors. Keep up with LOHUM’s publication on simplifying batteries, battery reuse, and battery recycling- #BatteryDecoded, on our LinkedIn page for more insightful articles on sustainable energy storage solutions, battery energy, the energy transition, circular economy, EV battery recycling, and battery repurposing!
Rajat Verma already recovers raw materials from used cells at his venture, LOHUM Cleantech. He wants to close the loop by making cells in India as well.
In an interaction with AutoStory, Rajat Verma, Founder and CEO of LOHUM Cleantech, speaks about building his company, and about battery manufacturing and repurposing as an industry.
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Recognized as ‘The Most Innovative Company of the year 2022’ by The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), LOHUM is a producer of sustainable Li-ion battery raw materials