EV Batteries Reused to Stabilize Solar Plant Output

2014/02/07 16:12
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Sumitomo Corp developed a large-scale storage battery system that reuses the storage batteries of electric vehicles (EVs) and installed it in an area adjacent to a mega-solar (large-scale solar) power plant.

The power plant is located in Yumeshima, Konohana Ward, Osaka City. The company started to test the effect of the system, which is expected to reduce the output fluctuation of the plant, in February 2014. This was announced Feb 6, 2014.

The output power and capacity of the storage battery system are 0.6MW and 0.4MWh, respectively. The system reuses batteries of 16 units of the Nissan Leaf, but it can use batteries of up to 24 units of the Leaf. This is the world's first large-scale system that reuses storage batteries, Sumitomo said.

This project was selected for Japan's Ministry of the Environment's "Model Project for Testing Rechargeable Battery Control, etc to Introduce Renewable Energy" for fiscal 2013. For the next three years, Sumitomo will check the effect to reduce the output fluctuation of the plant, "Osaka Hikari-no Mori Power Plant." Also, it will reuse EV batteries, which are expected to be reclaimed in large quantities in the future, aiming to establish technologies to safely operate a large-scale storage battery system.

In 2010, Sumitomo and Nissan Motor Co Ltd established 4R Energy Corp, a joint venture (JV) that reuses the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries of EVs. A control technology that 4R Energy developed for safely and maximally reusing batteries was adopted for the storage battery unit of the system developed for the project.

For the project, EV batteries are tested and overhauled by 4R Energy after being reclaimed. And they will be installed after their safety and performance are checked.

Sumitomo plans to develop new applications of used EV batteries through the project while considering new businesses using the highly-economical rechargeable battery system.