DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2018-08-29 08:30:13
    • Article ID: 699700

    Southern Research, NICE team to repurpose used EV batteries as energy storage systems

    Southern Research and the National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy (NICE) are collaborating on a project to transform retired electric vehicle batteries into energy storage systems for offices and factories

    Southern Research and the National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy (NICE) are collaborating on a project to transform retired electric vehicle batteries into energy storage systems for offices and factories.

    Under the partnership, the Birmingham, Alabama-based research organization will provide critical testing services to assist NICE to develop stationary power systems using very low cost, retired EV battery packs for the U.S. market.

    Low-cost stationary storage is a key enabling technology towards sustainable clean energy. To enable the use of retired EV battery packs, NICE has developed new power and controls topology for storage systems in its facility based in Beijing China. The innovative approach will allow for each battery pack to be individually optimized for performance and cycle life.

    “Each old EV battery has many different factors that affect the overall performance and life cycle of an energy storage system. No two batteries are alike. NICE’s technology solves the problems associated with using old EV batteries; it is a breakthrough,” said John Lemmon, Ph.D., director of Distributed Energy at NICE Beijing.

    “Southern Research and their partners will play a crucial role to provide third party validation for performance and economic analysis for our energy storage system.”

    SOLVING PROBLEMS

    To facilitate the project, Southern Research will make a significant investment to establish a multi-purpose test bed at its downtown Birmingham campus. Its sophisticated equipment will be used to assess the performance of individual battery packs and systems linking multiple batteries.

    “Collaborating with a world-class research organization like NICE will expand our capabilities in an area experiencing rapid growth,” said Corey Tyree, Ph.D., senior director of Southern Research’s Energy & Environment division. “This project also allows us to engage with the automotive manufacturers, an important industry to the state of Alabama and Southeast region.”

    The overall effort will allow business to save on energy costs while providing a second life for EV batteries that are still functional even though they no longer power an automobile, said Bert Taube, Ph.D., senior principal investigator for Energy Storage in Southern Research’s E&E division.

    “There is a large potential market for this, and if you can feed that demand with energy storage systems that use retired batteries, it’s doubly beneficial,” Taube said.

    “These batteries could end up going to a landfill and becoming hazardous waste. Instead, they will be repurposed, solve problems in the marketplace and put a product back to good use.”

    SECOND-HAND BATTERIES

    The NICE-Southern Research collaboration comes at a time when a wave of recent EV models are being replaced, raising questions about what to do with their batteries. While they can be disassembled and their components recycled, it makes economic sense for find a new use for these battery packs.

    A lithium-ion battery could retain 70 to 80 percent of its charging capacity after a decade of operation, making it suitable for less demanding chores after being removed from an auto.

    Meanwhile, battery demand for EVs is surging, with Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicting a 25-fold global increase by 2030. That means as many as 100,000 second-hand batteries will be available each year for repurposing in the United States alone in coming years, according to one estimate.

    As a component in an energy storage system, repurposed EV batteries could store energy collected by solar panels and wind turbines, or routed directly from the electric grid. The system would permit a business owner or factory operator to tap the supply when needed to prevent costly spikes.

    RESEARCH PARTNERS

    NICE is the research arm of the Beijing-based China Energy Investment Corp., which is a Global Fortune 500 company and leads the world in coal mining, coal-fired power, wind power, and coal-to-chemicals production.

    NICE is primarily focused on R&D and innovation in the fields of clean coal conversion, new energy, advanced materials, industrial catalysis, and environmental technologies.

    Its U.S. division, NICE America Research Inc., is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, and will be responsible for the commercialization of this novel energy storage system in North America markets including residential, commercial and industrial, and grid energy storage.

    Southern Research launched its Energy Storage Research Center last year as a platform for exploring, testing and validating technologies that could bring energy storage systems into wide-scale operation.

    The investment in the test bed is supported in part through contributions from the Alabama Innovation Fund, an initiative administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce to advance research and job creation in the state.

    Under the partnership with NICE, Taube’s team will evaluate batteries that powered Nissan Leaf electric vehicles to determine their capacity and power profile, among other characteristics. The team will then work with NICE to combine batteries into systems and test them for suitability in relevant commercial-industrial applications.

    Acelerex, a software development firm based in Greater Boston, is a partner in the project.

     

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    Supernovae Twins Open Up New Possibilities for Precision Cosmology

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    Story tips: Stealthy air leak detection, carbon to chemicals and recycling goes large

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    New computer model helps brings the sun into the laboratory

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    Department of Energy Announces $10 Million for Research on Quantum Information Science and Nuclear Physics

    Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $10 million for interdisciplinary research in Quantum Information Science (QIS) and nuclear physics.

    ORNL's Sergei Kalinin elected Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America

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    DOE's Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program selects 78 outstanding U.S. graduate students

    The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science has selected 78 graduate students representing 26 states for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program's 2020 Solicitation 2 cycle.

    Department of Energy Announces $11 Million for Research on Quantum Information Science for Fusion Energy Sciences

    Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $11 million for ten projects in Quantum Information Science (QIS) with relevance to fusion and plasma science.

    Katrin Heitmann elected spokesperson for LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration

    Katrin Heitmann elected spokesperson for LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration

    Argonne's Katrin Heitmann has been elected the scientific spokesperson for the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration. This collaboration will address fundamental questions about the evolution of the universe with data from the Rubin Observatory.

    Department of Energy to Provide $2 Million for Traineeship in Isotope R&D and Production

    Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $2 million to establish a traineeship program to advance workforce development in the field of isotope production, processing, and associated research, with preference to minority serving institutions.

    Department of Energy to Provide $10 Million for Research on Data Reduction for Science

    Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $10 million for foundational research to address the challenges of managing and processing the increasingly massive data sets produced by today's scientific instruments, facilities, and supercomputers in order to facilitate more efficient analysis.

    ORNL's Honeycutt, Horvath Named SME 2021 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

    ORNL's Honeycutt, Horvath Named SME 2021 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

    Andrew Honeycutt and Nick Horvath, machine tool researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have been selected to receive the 2021 Geoffrey Boothroyd Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from SME, the professional manufacturing engineering association.

    Department of Energy to Provide $25 Million toward Development of a Quantum Internet

    Today the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $25 million for basic research toward the development of a quantum internet.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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