German automaker Audi and electric power company EnBW are setting up an electric car battery operation at EnBW’s Heilbronn plant to make scaleable storage facilities by the end of 2020, drawing on retired batteries to help power grids.
Electric vehicle battery recycling and reuse have become a major factor for car and battery makers while renewable energy companies deal with the problem of how to absorb surpluses of wind and solar power to avoid waste and disruption to the stability of grids, slowing the transition to wholly carbon-free energy systems.
Alexander Kupfer, project head of circular economy at Audi and in charge of his company’s activities at the site, stated the cooperation was part of the automaker’s recycling commitments.
“We want to develop a plug and play battery storage solution for the energy industry,” Kupfer stated.
“The storage facility in Heilbronn will be the blueprint for a scaleable product that can be sold in increasing numbers.”
Audi has been testing the behavior of electric car batteries, which account for a third of an EV’s unit costs, in a research setting in Berlin for three years.
The batteries to be utilized for the commercial phase of the project come from test cars, which have run hundreds of thousands of kilometres, according to Kupfer.
“A used EV battery still can function for another three to 10 years,” Kupfer said.
EnBW, a market leader in renewable energy, will be making storage containers at the Heilbronn power and heat cogeneration plant, that would become a reference site.
Later on, EnBW would develop similar storage tools for sale to industrial power consumers, local utilities, or decentralized generation plants.
Financial details were not revealed.