New storage solution for e-batteries

Giving batteries from old e-cars a second life is an important step towards sustainability. The Green Energy Lab project “SecondLife Batteries” made the way from research to market in only three years. The core idea of the project: Extend the life cycle of used battery systems and combine them in a storage application. One of the first SecondLife storage systems was set up as a pilot plant on the Saubermacher premises in Premstätten near Graz and supports the company in starting up a recycling plant.

SecondLife Batteries funding project

The SecondLife Batteries funding project was launched in 2018 under the umbrella of the Green Energy Lab showcase region – and its first application is already on the market. “Sustainable and customer-oriented storage solutions are a central element in the development towards 100% renewable energy, on which the Green Energy Lab sometimes focuses in the project SecondLife Batteries”, says Mathias Schaffer, board member of the Green Energy Lab.

The core idea of the “Second Life” project is to extend the life cycle of used battery systems and to combine them in a storage application. This is because battery systems that are disposed of in the field of electromobility, for example, generally still have sufficient “state of health” to be used as storage devices. To assess this status, project partner AVL developed a special analysis device and a planning tool for automatic storage sizing. “Batteries from electric mobility are already being discarded when they only provide 80 percent of their power. But they are still good enough to be used as power storage devices,” says project leader Reinhard Ungerböck. The reuse of these batteries can bring both ecological and economic benefits.

Now successfully in use

It took only three years from idea to implementation – the project successfully made the fast track from research to market. This can currently be seen on the premises of the Austrian waste management company Saubermacher in Premstätten near Graz. One of the first SecondLife storage facilities was set up there as a pilot plant of Saubermacher AG and supports the company in starting up a recycling plant. With several project partners, used batteries from e-mobility are being given a second life. This makes the project a worldwide pioneer for sensible recycling and an active contributor to a changing energy system.

Ralf Mittermayr, CEO of the leading company Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG, explains: “If more and more electricity from renewable energies is to flow into our distribution networks, then energy storage systems are needed to ensure optimal integration and cost-optimized electricity use. This is where battery systems from electric mobility come into play – after some time they may no longer be powerful enough for demanding mobility applications, but they are still fit enough for a ‘Second Life’ in storage applications.”

A detailed project description can be found here.

The research project is implemented by the partners Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG, Grazer Energieagentur GmbH, AVL List GmbH, AVL DiTEST GmbH, Smart Power GmbH & CoKG, Energie Steiermark AG and is supported by funds from the “Energy Showcase Region” program of the Climate and Energy Fund.


Susanne Supper
Forschungsinitiative Green Energy Lab
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