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Duke Energy And ITOCHU Testing New Uses For Old Electric Vehicle Batteries

Duke Energy And ITOCHU Testing New Uses For Old Electric Vehicle Batteries

Duke Energy and ITOCHU Corp. announced a partnership today throughwhich they will evaluate and test new uses for old electric vehicle(EV) batteries. Once they are too spent for life on-the-road, EVbatteries could store power and deliver a charge elsewhere, thecompanies reason.
EV batteries falling below 80 percent of their original capacitywhen fully charged will be candidates for replacement and reuse.Duke and Itochu promised to begin their project by testing Ener1lithium-ion batteries extracted from a fleet of 80 EVs in a DukeEnergy facility in Indianapolis.
The automaker GM embarked on a similar initiative with The ABBGroup in September, specifically looking for ways to use spentChevy Volt batteries in the smart grid. One vision of reuse for EVbatteries proposed by GM would see them storing power fromrenewable sources in EV charging stations, which are used to chargeplug-in vehicles.
Other ideas (as reported by MSNBC.com and Gas2.org) include usingthe weakened EV batteries to keep cell phone towers up and runningduring blackouts, or to stabilize the gridby storing powergenerated either during off-peak hours or from intermittentlyavailable renewable sources, like wind or solar, finally dispensingit during peak demand hours.
EV skeptics believe that production and recycling of EV batteries—at least until battery design and reycling related technologyimproves— might make electric vehicles more harmful to theenvironment than the highest-efficiency diesel models. That’sespecially if a majority of electricity used to charge EVs comesfrom non-renewable sources, like coal.
Giving batteries a new life beyond the vehicle, and using them toshift electricity production to renewables as much as possiblewould quiet many of these worries. At the same time, companies likeGM, Duke, ABB Group and Itochu hope that increasing the totallifetime value of EV batteries would ultimately reduce the cost ofproducing them as well.