New Energy Vehicles

05 Jun 2023

Old Toyota Batteries Store Wind Farm Energy

05 Jun 2023  by   

Toyota gives old hybrid batteries a second life as wind farm energy storage in Japan

A COLLABORATION between Toyota Motor Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Holdings (TEPCO HD) to progress the storage of renewable energy for when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing promises to address the problem of what becomes of used electrified vehicle (EV) batteries.

Both Japanese companies – as well as the environment – stand to reap significant benefits from developing cost-effective energy storage solutions as demonstrated by other companies such as Nissan Australia, which is using repurposed Leaf batteries to store solar energy at its casting plant in Victoria.

Though Toyota is exploring numerous ‘new energy’ solutions for mobility, it has accumulated a vast store of knowledge on the use of battery storage systems since it began developing the first Prius hybrid car that launched in 1997.

Now, with TEPCO HD, both companies’ expertise will be tapped in various aspects of the development and verification of stationary storage battery systems with a view to giving electrified vehicle batteries a second life as storage for power generated by wind farms.

In a joint statement, the partners say their intention is “to build a stable energy supply system and to realise a recycling-oriented society with storage batteries”.

TEPCO HD and Toyota have already developed a stationary storage battery system (1MW output, 3 MWh capacity) that combines TEPCO HD’s operating technology and safety standards for stationary storage batteries and Toyota's system technology for electrified vehicle storage batteries.

It can be used in combination with existing equipment that connects storage batteries as a DC power source to supply AC power to the electricity grid and by connecting multiple used EV batteries.

The initial part of the system is in the process of being installed at the Eurus Tashirotai Wind Farm 600km north of Tokyo, which is owned and run by two other companies: Toyota Tsusho Corporation and subsidiary Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation.

All four participants involved in the project attended a ground-breaking ceremony at the site on May 31 for the installation of a battery energy storage system “verification project” as a step toward further expanding the introduction of renewable energy to Japan while helping to stabilise the nation’s supply and demand of electricity.

Confirmation of the battery system's operation, performance and feasibility will also form part of the project, as well assessing the potential for business use in the electricity market.

TEPCO HD and Toyota say they will evaluate the results and work to develop storage battery systems for consumer-oriented energy services.

Eurus Energy Holdings said in a statement “With the understanding and cooperation of local residents and other related parties, we will proceed with the installation work, giving full consideration to environmental preservation and placing the highest priority on safety management, in preparation for the start of the demonstration experiment later this year.”

For its part, Toyota says: “The storage battery market is expected to continue rapid growth in light of the spread of renewable energy and electrified vehicles, as well as the global trend toward carbon neutrality.

“It will be necessary to utilise storage batteries for electrified vehicles in the future to meet the increasing demand and needs for energy storage in environmental and economic improvement.

“In addition to aiming for a carbon-neutral mobility society, Toyota will work with Toyota Industries Corporation, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and Denso Corporation to utilise storage batteries for electrified vehicles that are safe, long-lasting, high quality, low cost, and high performance, as part of its various activities to realize a circular economy.

TEPCO HD and Toyota say they will promote the use of storage batteries throughout society by continuing their efforts to build an energy system utilising local production for local consumption, and “realise a recycling-oriented society for electrified vehicle storage batteries”.

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