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EVs Challenge to Entrepreneurs: Find New Use for Spent Batteries

By Johanna Peace

Sep 17, 2009

If enough vehicles were plugged into the grid, their batteries could help supply power during the few minutes of peak time each day when electricity demand puts a strain on available supply. Now, utilities turn to dirty power generators to pick up that slack—but using EV batteries as a power reserve for frequency regulation would be cheaper, cleaner, and would benefit the consumer as well.

“As a homeowner I could get a few hundred dollars a month to let them use my batteries for less than an hour total per day,” Freund said. “It’s conceptually not rocket science.”

But the familiar barriers mean this vehicle-to-grid () connection model also has a ways to go before becoming reality. First and foremost, the realization of the V2G vision would require updated smart grid technology that could handle increased power capacity from plugged-in vehicles. It would also require a central command post or aggregator to control the flow of power from grid-connected EVs.

“Any change to the infrastructure means expenses for the utilities. And they don’t want to rush something that’s expensive for them,” Freund said. “The infrastructure needs to be boosted, protocols and standards need to be set, and that will take time.”

Car makers have some time to figure out the logistics. While President Obama has called for 1 million PHEVs on the road by 2015, sales are only now beginning to grow, so it will likely be over a decade before the country finds itself with a significant number of used batteries on its hands.


See also:

Plug-in Hybrids Forcing Utilities to Get 'Smart'

Nissan Scores $200 Million for Biggest-Ever Electric Car Grid Project

Electric Energy Storage: Digging the Foundations (Part I)

Electric Energy Storage: Digging the Foundations (Part II)

A Case for Electric Cars in Carbon-Heavy Canada


What an interesting

What an interesting perspective on batteries! Indeed recycling should be an important part of the process of producing and using batteries, once we engage ourselves in mass production we should also be responsible about it.

I'd be interested in using

I'd be interested in using old EV batteries for power storage in a solar cell set-up.Commonly, deep cycle marine batteries are used for this purpose and this type of battery is NOT cheap and has limited recharge cycles before needing replacement.If used electric car batteries could be had for less than deep cycle marine lead/acid batteries and at least lasted as long as the deep cycle batteries, I could see this being a VERY likely market for the car battery makers to look to.

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