Scientific publication discussing challenges related to 2nd life BESS installations – 17.06.2024

Circular map.
A joint manuscript from SINTEF and VTT has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Circular Economy. The manuscript is titled “Existing and upcoming challenges for extending electric vehicle battery lifetime through 2nd life applications” and is based on work performed in two different work packages in the TREASoURcE project.

A short summary of the manuscript

Despite the rising need for more batteries to meet the EU’s objectives on climate neutrality, the utilisation of end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries in 2nd life applications is currently a poorly exploited field with limited legislative support in the EU. Through extending the lifetime of EV batteries, the pressure on already critical raw materials will be reduced in addition to contributing to significantly lower environmental footprint over the battery’s lifetime.

There are mostly positive impacts related to reuse of EV batteries. Still, many challenges need to be overcome for successful scale up. The newly accepted article in the Journal of Circular Economy presents the findings of a thorough literature review on existing technology for reuse and repurposing, identified different circular business models, and an overview of the relevant legislative landscape in the EU, Norway and Finland. To complement the literature review, interviews have been conducted with many stakeholders from different parts of the value chain to understand how these groups perceive the possibilities within this business segment and what they see as the main barriers for implementation of 2nd life batteries.

10 main challenges were identified within four different categories: technical, legislative, eco-design, and safety/reliability. Technical and eco-design challenges are very much interconnected and are to a large extent related to restricted access to historical data, lack of standardization in battery design, and rapid development of the battery technology. Safety and reliability are also an important issue which is particularly emphasized by the end users. This area is hampered by limited standards and legislation as well as being affected by the technical challenges. Several new international standards are under development, and the new EU Battery Regulation will also address some of the identified challenges. Still, it will take time before these changes become effective. Additionally, the EU Battery Regulation prioritizes material recycling of batteries over activities aimed at extending their lifespan in a circular manner, as it mandates a minimum proportion of materials in new batteries to be sourced from recycled materials.

The link to the full article will be updated as soon as the manuscript has been published.

17.6.2024 | Fride Vullum-Bruer (SINTEF), fride.vullum.bruer@sintef.no

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