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  • – New study forecasts enormous potential for second-life batteries
  • eMobility pivotal to grid integration
  • There’s life after death for old electric vehicle batteries. After five to seven years of service, the average EV battery still has between 70 and 80 percent of its original capacity – not enough for a Tesla S or BMW i3, but too much for the scrap heap. A new study by the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) and Deutsche Messe based in Hannover, Germany, shows that by 2025, Germany could have sufficient stocks of depleted Lithium-ion EV batteries to supply 25 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power to the grid. That’s equivalent to about half of Germany’s current total pumped-storage capacity. But it will only happen if the country’s electric vehicle market shifts up a gear and gets some serious momentum going.

    "The auto industry has the potential to be a key driver of the energy transition," said BEE CEO Hermann Falk. "The government therefore needs to lift its game in order to achieve its target of having a million electric cars on our roads by 2020. The medium-term benefits would include reduced capital investment in reserve capacity and grid expansion."

    A critical factor in unlocking the enormous potential of the electric vehicle sector is the rapidly declining cost of battery production. Last year, a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of Lithium-ion capacity cost 500 euros. Since then, the cost has fallen to 300 euros and, according to the study, will reach 150 euros by 2020. A second-life EV battery, on the other hand, can already supply power for 150 euros per kWh. Consequently, second-life batteries will be an important factor in driving down the cost of batteries in the very near future. Just 10 years from now, Germany will have sufficient second-life EV battery capacity to store 25 GWh of power. Second-life batteries will thus play a key role in smoothing out the country’s generation and load peaks.

    "Mobility and energy belong together," said Benjamin Low, Deutsche Messe’s director in charge of the Energy show at HANNOVER MESSE. "At the Energy show, we will map out how the energy transition can proceed in unison with the mobility transition. Energy storage will naturally be a fundamental part of this – and hence a major focus of the event. More than 300 companies will present energy storage solutions ranging from power-to-gas systems to battery technology."

    Here are the main findings of the BEE/Deutsche Messe study:

    • By 2025, second-life battery storage facilities will be supplying 25 GWh of power.

    • The cost of battery storage is declining by 15 percent annually.

    • Battery storage production will quadruple by 2020.

    • By 2020 it will cost EUR 150/kWh to power an electric vehicle – i.e. exactly the same as the cost of powering a fossil-fuel vehicle.

    • Currently 50 percent of all EV batteries are recycled after five to seven years of use.

    The author of the study, Gerard Reid from the London-based consultancy Alexa Capital, has a number of recommendations for policymakers:

    • Greater standardization of batteries and charging stations.

    • Batterie-Speicher sollten nicht als Stromverbraucher belastet werden.

    • Stimulate greater R&D into and use of second-life batteries.

    • Industry needs to develop technical performance standards for second-life batteries in order to simplify certification processes and product liability regimes.

    • Increase financial resources and incentives for data collection on second-life batteries and projects involving second-life batteries.

    • Develop flexible electricity markets which streamline work with transmission and distribution system operators and regulators in the interests of quantifying and realizing the value-enhancement and flexibility potential of the system.

    About the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE)

    The BEE is the umbrella organization for Germany’s renewable energy associations. It unites 37 associations which together represent a total of over 30,000 individual members, including more than 5,000 companies. The BEE’s member associations include the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the German Solar Association (BSW), the German Biogas Association and the German Hydropower Association (BDW). Via its network of memberships, the BEE represents 355,400 jobs and more than three million power plant operators. The BEE’s long-term goal is to achieve 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity, heating and transport sectors.

    About the Energy show

    Over 1,200 exhibitors will illustrate how the energy system of the future works at this year’s Energy trade show, which will feature the "Integrated Energy Plaza" as its centerpiece. Visitors to this brand-new display will be able to see how the various technologies interact and find out what makes tomorrow’s energy systems safe, secure and efficient. The Energy show will feature all the latest integrated systems solutions spanning the entire energy chain, from generation, storage, transmission and distribution, right through to innovative e-mobility concepts.