Duke Energy and Tokyo-based ITOCHU Corp. have inked an agreement to collaborate on the evaluation and testing of second-life applications for lithium-ion automotive batteries. This deal builds upon the companies' current involvement in Project Plug-IN, a large-scale electric vehicle (EV) testing initiative based in Indianapolis, IN.

Duke Energy and ITOCHU will analyze data, gleaned from Ener1 lithium-ion batteries used in a fleet of 80 Think City plug-ins, to determine the commercial viability of second-life li-ion applications. This includes things like providing supplemental home energy, storing renewable power and powering fast-charging stations.

Some auto industry experts believe EVs batteries that lack the ability to charge to at least 80 percent of their original capacity are prime candidates for replacement. Batteries that can no longer function in vehicles could live on in second-life applications for decades instead of adding to the world's growing piles of discarded trash. In addition, extending the total lifetime of li-ion batteries could help to substantially reduce the overall cost of plug-in vehicles.

[Source: Duke Energy]


Duke Energy and ITOCHU to Develop Strategies for Reusing Electric Vehicle Batteries

Nov. 23, 2010


Duke Energy and Tokyo-based ITOCHU Corp. signed an agreement today to collaborate on advanced energy technologies, starting with the evaluation and testing of second-life applications for electric vehicle batteries.

According to some auto industry estimates, electric vehicle (EV) batteries that can no longer charge to approximately 80 percent of their original capacity may be candidates for replacement. Duke Energy and ITOCHU believe batteries that become unsuitable for use in EVs could live on in other applications. Reuse possibilities for these batteries include providing a supplemental home energy supply, storing renewable power and providing a fast-charging power source for EVs.

To determine the technical feasibility and commercial viability of these second-life applications, Duke Energy and ITOCHU will first gather and analyze data from at least 2,000 kilowatt-hours of Ener1 lithium ion batteries deployed in a fleet of approximately 80 Th!nk plug-in EVs. Initial testing will occur in Duke Energy's Indiana service territory.

Duke Energy and ITOCHU's pilot program builds upon their involvement in Project Plug-IN, a large-scale public/private EV initiative based in Indianapolis.

The companies will assess how EV batteries perform in their "second lives," including stationary applications in homes, neighborhoods and commercial buildings. This pilot project will help Duke Energy and ITOCHU validate potential business models for future commercialization. In addition, the companies believe increasing the total lifetime value of batteries through second-life applications could help reduce initial battery cost.

Duke Energy will provide engineering design support for battery installations, as well as supply test sites and personnel. ITOCHU will provide its stationary energy storage infrastructure expertise to enable the reuse of automotive batteries.

Both companies have served in leadership roles as the world prepares for the potential widespread adoption of EVs.

Duke Energy has been working closely with auto manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, other electric utilities and the Electric Drive Transportation Association for several years to understand and influence the development of the EV customer experience, as well as impacts to the power grid.

In January 2010, ITOCHU became the first international board member of the Energy Systems Network, the Indianapolis-based organization behind Project Plug-IN. In May 2010, ITOCHU launched the Green Crossover Project in the Japanese city of Tsukuba. The purpose of this initiative is to develop an EV battery reuse business model; enhance energy management; and build the infrastructure necessary to enable EV quick-charging and streamlined customer billing transactions.

About Duke Energy

Company Name: Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK)

Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina

Chairman & CEO: James E. Rogers

Revenues: $12.7 billion (for year ended Dec. 31, 2009)

Total Assets: $57 billion (as of Dec. 31, 2009)

Employees: Approximately 18,680 (as of Dec. 31, 2009)

Business: Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK.

Internet: www.duke-energy.com

About ITOCHU Corporation

Company Name: ITOCHU Corporation

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

President & CEO: Masahiro Okafuji

Revenues: $36.7 billion (for year ended March 31, 2010)

Total Assets: $58.9 billion (as of March 31, 2010)

Employees: Approximately 4,368 (as of Dec. 31, 2009)

Business: With approximately 150 offices in 74 countries, ITOCHU Corporation engages in trading and import/export of various products such as textile, machinery, information and communications technology, aerospace, electronics, energy, metals, minerals, chemicals, forest products, general merchandise, food, finance, realty, insurance, and logistics services, as well as business investment in Japan and beyond. ITOCHU Corporation has been diversifying its renewable energy portfolio, and is a strategic equity partner of leading lithium-ion battery manufacturer, Ener1 (NASDAQ: HEV) and EV manufacturer, Th!nk.

Internet: http://www.itochu.co.jp/en/

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