ARENA, CEFC back plan to recycle EV-batteries for household storage

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A Melbourne company that has found a way to recycle EV batteries for use in household and grid-scale storage gets some money from Turnbull’s innovation fund.

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Relectrify Electronics

Australia’s two biggest clean energy financiers are putting money into a new venture by Melbourne-based start-up Relectrify that proposes to re-use electric vehicle batteries for household storage.

Electrify says it has developed “advanced battery control technology” that reduces the cost of repurposing EV batteries, while boosting performance and lifetime.

The technology combines both power electronics hardware and battery optimisation software, which overcomes the problems of having one “dud” cell in a field of many from large scale batteries.

It says that that once EV batteries reach the end of their life, and struggle to provide the driving range and acceleration required of motor transport, there is still 80 per cent of their storage capability that can be used in household situations. That means a further 2,000 cycles.

Relectrify was co-founded by Daniel Crowley and Valentin Muenzel in 2015, and the company is an alumni of the Melbourne Accelerator at the University of Melbourne. Its technology

Muenzel, the company’s CEO, says recycled batteries can be repurposed widely, including for 12V batteries, household solar battery systems and grid-scale storage.

“Batteries are becoming a fundamental building block of the new energy industry and seeing significant uptake across households, businesses and the power grid. And this is just the beginning. There is an immense need for affordable and capable storage across almost all parts of our lives now and in the future.

The company has raised a total of $1.5 million in “pre-Series A” financing, a type of financing used by start-up companies.

This includes $750,000 in early stage equity investment from the $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund, which to date remains the single initiative on clean energy yet achieved by the Turnbull government.

The CEIF is jointly managed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said Relectrify’s technology to recycle batteries would reduce waste and make home storage more affordable.

“Relectrify is led by bright and passionate Melbourne-based founders who are looking to bring an innovative idea to renewable energy storage solutions that can significantly lower the cost of energy storage in a sustainable way.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said potential applications for Relectrify’s forward-thinking technology can be adopted across the whole economy to have a significant impact on the way Australians use energy.

“Although home batteries are only a tiny part of our energy storage today, industry experts are saying they could be capable of storing around 15 gigawatt hours by 2035. That’s enough stored electricity to power South Australia’s current summer peak demand for five hours.

“And while electric vehicles currently make up only around 0.2 per cent of vehicle sales in Australia, by 2035 they are expected to represent just over one quarter. That translates to an increasing supply of lithium ion batteries that are no longer useful in cars, but are still incredibly capable for other applications.

 

 

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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5 Comments
  1. Ren Stimpy 1 year ago

    This makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. Ok so they can no longer power a Model S from 0 to 60 mph in 2-point-whatever seconds, but why recycle them yet if they can still be utilised for 2000 more cycles for lower energy intensity tasks such as home usage? Would only make sense though if they come in at less than half the price of a brand new Powerwall.

    • Flying high 1 year ago

      Recall reading, a Park in the US is powered by used Prius batteries…

  2. E. David Anstee 1 year ago

    Congratulations Relectrify, all the hard work has paid off, and not even more hard work starts!

  3. trackdaze 1 year ago

    Seeing that a new 30kwhr Nissan Leaf battery cost 5000 Usd or less it May well be cheaper to power your house already with new or used vehicle battery than a power wall.

    • Mike Dill 1 year ago

      30kWh for $5k is about US$170/kWh.
      My guess is that a PW2 (US$5500 for 13.5kWh including inverter/charger) is currently about US$300/kWh for the battery, but it will take you some time before you can actually get one installed. The PW2 also includes a 10 year warranty, which might be valuable to some people.

      If you can get a DC connection to the Leaf battery and an inverter/charger that will run at about 400VDC, it might be cheaper to buy an older Leaf, and get a new battery for that price to run your home. You would also have a car to drive occasionally, which might tip the scales.

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