Finding second life for electric car batteries

Electric cars will overtake their petrol-powered counterparts and companies in France are looking at ways to deal with the waste that electric car batteries generate and giving them a second life.

Car manufacturer Nissan is looking to to prolong the batteries’ life by using them to store energy. A battery with 80% storage capacity may no longer be fit for use in a car, but will still function.

Nissan is currently trialling this form of energy storage, known as xStorage, at a data centre in Normandy, in the west of France. Two used electric car batteries store energy produced by solar panels installed on the roof, with the electricity then released when the network needs it.

Nissan’s Electric Vehicle Director Grégory Nève told France24: “There is value in these batteries. That’s what’s interesting, they have an ecological benefit, they have an economic benefit and that’s why we’re doing it.”

The xStorage technology has since been employed at a football stadium in Amsterdam.

Elsewhere in France, mining and metallurgy company Eramet are looking at how to recycle the electric car batteries once they’ve come to the end of their life, by extracting the precious materials inside, including nickel and cobalt salts and lithium carbonate. 

Eramet is still trying to prove the activity can be profitable in Europe. In the long term, it’s hoped the materials extracted will not only be pure enough to be reused in new electric car batteries, but that their overall carbon footprint will be lower than if they were extracted from a mine.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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