Reusing or recycling batteries from electric vehicles

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Larsson, Sara
The transport and energy sectors are moving towards less dependency on fossil fuels. The energy system will probably generate electricity with mainly renewable sources and most of the cars will be electrified. In Sweden, the prognosis by Power Circle is by 2035, 95% of the new cars sold will be electric. This corresponds to annually 300 000 cars, or around 18 GWh of batteries. When the batteries reach end-of-life in the vehicle, it has degraded which affect acceleration and driving range. Though, these batteries could possibly have 70-90% capacity left. The high capacity could indicate that it could be possible to introduce the batteries to a new application, called “a second life”. The batteries could be dismantled from the vehicle and put into an application that is less demanding. Another concern coupled to second life, is the use of scarce or rare elements. Therefore, it is a trade-off between reuse and recycling. On one hand, the batteries could be used longer, but on the other hand, it is also important to recycle valuable elements back into the system. What determines the path is the value for the energy system, legislation and different incentives. This thesis aims to give insights on the future of second life batteries in Sweden. To understand and map important mechanisms and attitude along the whole value chain of a battery, 22 people were interviewed. All of them working in different fields that could be relevant in some way for second life. All interviewed persons knew about the second life-concept, but the attitude and thoughts around it was mixed. Some saw potential while others only saw challenges. The interviews were summed up and analyzed. The key questions for second life are coupled to Battery Management System, BMS, business model, circular use of resources, uncertainty about the battery status and safety. To get a deeper understanding about the potential of second life a battery flow model was made. Input data came from the new car sales prognosis and then different lifetime, capacity and reuse rate were put into the model. The different scenarios were matched with the possible second life market in Sweden. Even though it is not clear where these batteries will end up, the potential could be big. However, it is very depending on the lifetime of the batteries together with the market share. Also, the lifetime of the new second-life-application could be crucial. To conclude, the overall awareness of the interviewed people was very high. The attitude around second life was mainly positive, however there are many hurdles that needs to overcome. Some are linked to the business case – that companies need to decide already in their first life if they want to do second life. The technical problems seem rather to be in the uncertainties of measuring state-of-health (that is necessary for second life) and promise safety for the new application.
2nd life batteries, energy systems, lithium-ion, SLB, SLBESS
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