Thursday, March 3, 2011

No. 65: Recycling vehicle-mounted lithium-ion battery at home (March 3, 2011)

Asahi Kasei announced that it would develop a low-priced storage system jointly with Nissan Motor and Omron. With the spread of electric vehicles, some measures need to be taken to handle a large number of used lithium-ion batteries that will be put on the market in the future. The system that the three companies try to develop is designed to store electricity generated by the photovoltaic generation system besides storing electricity at nights when electricity rate is low. This gives momentum to the formulation of measures for the spread of electric vehicles and smart grids.

Nissan introduced its electric vehicle Leaf late last year. The battery for an EV is said to have a life between 5-10 years because of rapid and repeated charges and discharges give a large amount of load to the battery. Therefore, companies involved in the battery business are considering recycling the used batteries for household use. A vehicle-mounted lithium-ion battery is expected to be usable for another 20 years after it is demounted from the vehicle.

Asahi Kasei will develop a storage system and market it for one to two million yen in the initial stage. The battery used in this system will be replaced by a used vehicle-mounted lithium-ion battery in series, and the price of a battery will ultimately be reduced to several hundreds of thousand yen. Nissan Motor and will supply used vehicle-mounted batteries to the system by replacing old parts with new ones and changing the specifications to make them suitable for household. Omron will develop equipment that converts the DC power stored in the battery to AC power for household use and manages discharge and charge.

More than 500,000 EVs are expected sold annually in 2020, and the market of home storage system that uses used vehicle-mounted lithium-ion batteries is estimated to grow about 54 times to about 13 billion yen in 2020.

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