Eaton and Nissan power ahead with second-life battery systems

Eaton and Nissan have partnered to combine their expertise in power electronics and lithium-ion batteries respectively, to bring reliable and cost-competitive energy storage and control technologies to the market.

Robert Lujan, electric vehicle director, Nissan Global: “The batteries as power units far outlast the typical life of a car. Having produced our own electric vehicle batteries at our leading manufacturing sites for many years, this scheme will allow us to expand the life of our existing 24kWh product therefore reducing the need to use additional resources to produce new batteries.”

Nissan’s lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries are given a ‘second-life’ in these uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, where they can be stacked and used to power private residences, small offices and data centres up to grid-scale applications. It is claimed that, with “gentle” use, the batteries could last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced.

Cyrille Brisson, vice president marketing, for Eaton’s Electrical business in EMEA added, “These systems will really facilitate the wider adoption and deployment of renewable generation; giving people greater control over their energy supply and consumption.

“The multiple benefits of such a unit include continuity of supply, increased grid stability and efficiency, avoidance of peak energy tariffs and reducing the reliance on expensive fuels like diesel to compensate for no-grid or poor-grid situations,” Brisson said.

There is also an onus on providing developing parts of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa with a cheap form of renewable energy to replace expensive and polluting forms of power.

Brisson added: “Over 3billion people rely on polluting and inefficient cooking, lighting, and heating methods that are expensive and have serious health impacts. Enabling the delivery of cleaner, more affordable energy to these people, including the 1.2bn people who have no access to electricity at all, will really make a difference.”

It is said that the UPS system can be assembled and connected within hours and is technologically agnostic. Meaning the UPS can be connected to any kind of renewable energy source (photovoltaic (PV), wind, wave, tidal) and operates standalone or connected to the grid.

So far, the UPS has been tested using PV at Nissan and Eaton’s facilities and has recently been installed at data centres run by potential customers. After feedback from these companies has been given, the UPS systems are expected to go into production within the first half of 2016.

Brisson explained that the price of the system is not fixed yet and will depend on the needs of the individual customer and the price of energy in the country in which they operate as it can fluctuate from area to area.