I’ve been at Zenobē for over three years and started in the Operations team. In my first role, I monitored the performance of our grid and electric vehicle (EV) batteries, getting to know their capabilities and limitations. Now, as a Business Development Associate, I use this technical knowledge to develop new business for second-life, including portable battery projects.
Quite simply, it’s a battery which is reused after it’s unable to deliver the energy needed for its primary application, like accelerating an 18-ton electric bus around busy streets for 16 hours a day.
At Zenobē, we use first life batteries to power EV fleets. These batteries have a very high energy density requirement to ensure they have sufficient capacity to complete their scheduled route.
After approximately five to seven years, an EV battery will degrade to the point where it cannot hold enough charge to meet its route requirements. At this point, we’ll replace it for a new one.
This first life battery can then be repurposed for alternative applications. It comes off the vehicle and is then tested, rehoused and repurposed for use in a second life.
Using batteries in second life applications has both environmental and economic benefits:
Before refurbishing the batteries, we run tests to ensure they will be able to perform in a new application. If a battery module has no internal failures and has sufficient capacity remaining, then none of the materials are lost. If housing or connection materials need to be replaced, we will recycle them.
Sometimes during testing we may need to remove modules which are degraded beyond reuse – these are sent to a recycling facility. By being selective we can ensure the integrity of our second life battery systems.
It’s exciting to play a part in building a circular economy for batteries; to ensure they are as environmentally and financially sustainable as possible.
There are so many potential applications, from replacing diesel generators at film sets, events and construction sites, to supporting on site renewable generation. And we’ve already worked on some cool projects proving that second-life batteries can:
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