These batteries cannot power cars, but they can light up a city

One question: who owns the reusable battery, and who will be responsible if something goes wrong? Automakers know that if one of the old batteries catches fire, they may be blamed. GM recently Recall every Chevrolet Bolt The fire was caused by defective batteries manufactured by the South Korean company LG Chem. “This is a bit of a gray area legally,” said Pesaran, an engineer at NREL. “There are lawyers–they can argue about anything.”

There are also technical issues. Before you can reuse an electric car battery, you must know how much juice it retains and whether it is worth using a second time. “Assessing the health of a battery is very important to know whether it is valuable,” said Andy Latham, Salvage Wire’s electric car rescue consultant.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Battery manufacturers and car manufacturers regularly change the chemical composition and structure of the battery, so it is difficult to develop a standard process. In addition, batteries that are no longer in use today are likely to be damaged by collisions or have certain manufacturing defects. Even finding an old battery to test can be a challenge. Chris Mi, a professor of engineering who studies lithium-ion batteries at San Diego State University, spoke with salvage operators and car manufacturers. Other teams started at Google.

ReJoule, a start-up company located in southern Los Angeles County, located in a shopping mall and swinging oil derrick, hopes to simplify this process. Its prototype is a lightweight, desktop computer-sized device that can diagnose whether the battery is suitable for a second use in less than five minutes, as short as 30 seconds. Today, this process can take several hours and requires a heavier machine than the battery pack they are diagnosing. ReJoule plans to use a second machine, the size of a dormitory refrigerator, to diagnose the battery pack before it is removed from the car. Its technology relies on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, which uses alternating current scanned at multiple frequencies to measure the health of the materials in the battery cell. Ultimately, the company hopes to embed its software into the new battery so that they can be monitored during the stressful life of the journey. It also hopes to get help from regulations or at least industry standards to make work easier.

However, for now, ReJoule’s engineers must enter the battery. The battery pack is sealed with industrial glue and cannot be disassembled. Years of hard service on bumpy roads will deform their screws and bolts. Therefore, it may take several hours for ReJoule’s engineers to just pry open one. Once in, a lot of things may go wrong. A graphic hint: a switch called a contactor, which is firmly welded to a metal tool. It shouldn’t be. ReJoule CEO Steven Chung co-founded the company with his sister Zora, and he said that when an engineer was setting up a test, the contactor fell on the tool, “You I know, there are some fireworks.” ReJoule will keep this thing to remind everyone to abide by the safety rules.

Another looming question is whether old electric vehicle batteries are a reliable way to store energy for the grid. This is why the old Nissan Leaf battery appeared in that area in Lancaster. One concern is that these batteries—or certain types of batteries—will only work for a few years before they quickly degrade. Utilities do not want them to change batteries frequently. Freeman Hall, president and co-founder of B2U, said his company hopes to prove long-term value to energy experts and investors. If B2U can prove that old lithium-ion batteries can be stored in hot sunlight and strong winds for many years and be charged and discharged many times and still perform well, then in terms of the company’s ability to raise funds, “it changes everything,” Hall said.

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