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German EV industry opens up ‘second use’ battery market for energy storage

German bat­tery ener­gy sto­rage sys­tem (BESS) pro­ject deve­lo­per TRICERA ener­gy has been able to build its busi­ness thanks to ‘second use’ bat­tery modu­les from the country’s auto­mo­ti­ve sec­tor, its COO told

Dresden/Freiberg, 14.06.2022

The Dresden-head­quar­te­red com­pa­ny has a 120MWh pipe­line of pro­jects for deli­very by the end of 2023 but had to come up with an alter­na­ti­ve to sourcing bat­te­ries the tra­di­tio­nal way, as COO Lars Fallant explai­ned: “We don’t order bat­te­ries from China becau­se we are too small for them to be inte­res­ted in working with us, or the pri­ce is too high, which is why we use second use bat­te­ries from the auto­mo­ti­ve sector.”

The com­pa­ny repacka­ges bat­tery modu­les into BESS units start­ing from 100kWh in size, which
it sources from the country’s EV indus­try, one of the lar­gest in the world.
‘Second use’ means unu­sed bat­te­ries, as distinct to ‘second life,’ which means repur­po­sing of used vehic­le batteries.

Fallant explai­ned how it is able to pro­cu­re unu­sed bat­tery modu­les in the sca­le requi­red to do
its BESS pro­jects: 
“Sometimes a pro­duc­tion line will cea­se and the­re will be lef­to­ver bat­tery modu­les we can use. Or, the auto­mo­ti­ve play­er makes more bat­te­ries than they need becau­se of war­ran­ty agree­ments which were not exer­cis­ed, and they don’t want to use ‘old’ bat­te­ries in their new lines. Right now the­re is also a chip shorta­ge which hasmeant a rela­ti­ve over­pro­duc­tion of bat­te­ries in some cases,” he said.

“In all the­se cases, they sell to us for a good pri­ce and the­se are our core sup­p­ly of
bat­te­ries. We also have a small sup­p­ly of bat­te­ries from our share­hol­der, which is a for­k­lift com­pa­ny that builds its own bat­tery modu­les. A third sup­p­ly source which is small for now, but which we want to grow, is second life or recy­cled bat­te­ries from the auto­mo­ti­ve sec­tor. Again, we’ve star­ted here with our shareholder.”

The main chal­lenges with second use bat­tery modu­les – modu­le dis­as­sem­bly into the con­sti­tu­ent cells would be too cos­t­ly – are two-fold accor­ding to Fallant. First, you need to
design your own bat­tery manage­ment sys­tem (BMS).
TRICERA’s share­hol­der had an exis­ting basic one that TRICERA was able to build on.

The other chall­enge is the varia­bi­li­ty in the size and char­ge type of the modu­les being used, mea­ning the mecha­ni­cal struc­tu­re of the rack needs to be built fle­xi­bly enough to accom­mo­da­te this.

Source: German EVs open up second use bat­tery mar­ket for ener­gy sto­rage (