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Second Life EV Batteries: A Massive Recourse for a Resilient and Renewable Grid

Ahmad Pesaran, Chief Energy Storage Engineer • National Renewable Energy Laboratory

To make grid more cleaner, significant amount of renewable power has been added and the trend is expected to accelerate. To address variability of renewable power and resiliency of for the future grid significant amount of energy storage needed according to the DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. One technology that could play a key role is lithium ion batteries (LIB) as their prices have come down significantly in the last 10 years. Most of LIBs has been going into the growing electric vehicle market. By 2025, it is estimated that 3.5 million used PEVs may be retiring worldwide with commutative capacity of around 150 GWh. The question is what the is best way to deal with these batteries: recycle them right away for re-introduction of valuable materials into the battery supply chain or reused and then recycle them. These batteries usually have between 70 to 80 percent of their original capacity and studies have shown second use of these batteries are technically and environmentally – the question has been the economic viability.  Rather than using new LIBs in the future grid, the second-life batteries is a significant resource.  Here we will discuss new approaches to overcome barriers to reusing EV second life batteries.


Ahmad Pesaran is the chief energy storage engineer for NREL’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences. At NREL since 1983, his work has spanned various technical arenas, including automotive batteries, buildings, ocean-thermal energy conversion, and advanced air conditioning. He has co-authored more than 150 journal articles and technical papers on energy storage and electric-drive vehicles. Currently he supports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) with battery recycling, battery processing and manufacturing, and low-cobalt cathode development projects. He also serves on the electrochemical energy storage technical team and workgroups of the U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability) program. He started working on batteries, ultracapacitors, hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles in 1995, collaborating with car and battery manufacturers on battery thermal analysis and battery thermal management issues.

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