The partnership, which also includes Sumitomo Corp. of America and 4R Energy Corporation, looks to develop a 50-kWh battery-storage prototype that would be able to power 15 homes for two hours. Nissan and ABB, whose executives spoke about the partnership in a press conference Wednesday, said it was too early to disclose specific commercial applications for used EV batteries, which on average will still retain as much as 70 percent of their energy-storage capacity after 10 years of use in an EV.
"We are working as this as a first step," said Nissan North America's Ken Srebnik on the conference call. "We definitely do see pilot projects with utilities within the next two years."
Proponents of electric vehicles are keeping an eye on the secondary-battery market because much of an EV's cost and residual value is tied to how much the battery costs to produce and how much it can be sold for when it can no longer be used in the car. Frost & Sullivan said in late 2010 that, by 2022, about $2 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries from EVs will be processed. Such batteries may eventually be used to prevent or limit blackouts by providing temporary power during peak demand periods on the grid.
In late 2010, Duke Energy and Tokyo-based ITOCHU Corp. reached a similar deal to test second-life applications for lithium-ion EV batteries. Duke Energy and ITOCHU were going to analyze data from Ener1 lithium-ion batteries used in a fleet of 80 Think City plug-ins.
Nissan last August started selling a system in Japan that allowed the Leaf to be used as backup electricity-storage system for homes. The Leaf, with its 24-kWh battery fully charged, can supply enough electricity to power a typical Japanese home for about two days, Nissan said at the time.
"We see increasing need for storage in the distribution grid," said Jochen Kreusel, head of smart grid operations for Zurich-based ABB, on Wednesday's call.
- Partnership paves way for technical and commercial evaluations of battery energy storage units -
Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) and ABB, the world's leading power and technology group, along with 4R Energy and Sumitomo Corporation of America, have formed a partnership to evaluate the reuse of lithium-ion battery packs that power the Nissan LEAF, the world's first and only all-electric car designed for the mass market.
The purpose is to evaluate and test the residential and commercial applications of energy storage systems or back-up power sources using lithium-ion battery packs reclaimed from electric vehicles after use. Energy storage systems can store power from the grid during times of low usage and feed that electricity back into the grid during periods of peak demand, increasing grid performance and providing back-up power during outages. The team plans to develop a LEAF battery storage prototype with a capacity of at least 50 kilowatt hours (kWh), enough to supply 15 average homes with electricity for two hours.
"It's important to Nissan that we manage the complete lifecycle of the electric vehicle battery pack, even beyond its use in a Nissan car," said Ken Srebnik, senior manager, NNA Corporate Planning. "Innovations in energy storage systems are becoming more viable as the electric grid gets smarter, and Nissan is proud to work with ABB, 4R Energy and Sumitomo to help bring these possibilities to market."
Electric vehicle batteries, such as those that power the Nissan LEAF, have longer lives than those of personal computers or cell phones, with up to 70 percent capacity remaining after 10 years of use in an automotive application. This longevity allows them to be used beyond the lifetime of the vehicle for applications such as a smart-grid community energy management system or battery energy storage.
"This agreement will allow us to evaluate the commercial viability of a grid storage solution and develop a prototype to effectively reuse Nissan LEAF batteries," said Bruno Melles, head of ABB's Medium Voltage power products business, a part of the company's Power Products division. "We look forward to working with our partners to take electric-vehicle battery energy storage technology a step further."
Innovative energy storage solutions are expected to become a key component of the smart grid, contributing to greater efficiency, reliability and performance. They will facilitate further integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, into the grid. The evaluation of Nissan batteries, through the partnership, will help determine their suitability for the power industry as a cost-effective energy storage solution.
"As a pioneer in developing the business model for the 'reuse' of EV batteries for stationary application in the world, 4R ENERGY is happy to partner with the world's number one power integrator, ABB, and Nissan, the world leading electric car producer," said Kazuaki Mori, Director of International Business Development Division, 4R ENERGY Corp. "We want to contribute to the establishment of a low-carbon society with renewable energy resources and the next generation of Smart-Grid and EV communities in the world."
About Nissan Americas
In the Americas, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information, including photos and video b-roll, on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 130,000 people.
About 4R Energy Corporation
4R ENERGY Corporation (www.4r-energy.com), headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, was established in September 2010 as a new joint venture company between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd (www.nissan.co.jp) and Sumitomo Corporation (www.sumitomocorp.co.jp) to conduct research and field tests on the second-life use of lithium-ion batteries that have been used previously in electric vehicles. Naming a second-life use of lithium-ion batteries as the "4R business" (Reuse, Refabricate, Resell, Recycle) which is designed as solutions for both renewable energy and EV's popularization, which lead to Smart community realization, by utilizing mass-produced EV lithium-ion battery.
About Sumitomo Corporation of America
Sumitomo Corporation of America (www.sumitomocorp.com), established in 1952, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation. It is headquartered in New York City and is an integrated global trading company with diversified investments in businesses involved in manufacturing and marketing of consumer products, providing financing for customers and suppliers, coordination and operation of urban and industrial infrastructure products, providing transportation and logistics services, developing natural resources, distribution of steel and other products and developing and managing real estate. The company's offices and business investments range throughout North America, Canada and Mexico and Central and South America.