A Melbourne start-up business will launch groundbreaking technology to re-purpose used car batteries for use as behind-the-meter household energy storage.
Relectrify has developed advanced battery control technology that reduces the cost of repurposing electric vehicle batteries and boosts their performance and lifetime.
Industry experts predict the batteries could be capable of storing around 15 gigawatt hours by 2035 — enough stored electricity to power South Australia’s current summer peak demand for five hours.
The company will today be given $750,000 from the federal government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund to expand production and trials on second-life batteries.
Chief executive and co-founder Valentin Muenzel said recycled batteries could be repurposed for 12V batteries, household solar battery systems and grid-scale storage.
Once electric vehicle batteries reach the end of their life and can no longer provide the driving range and acceleration required, up to 80 per cent of the storage capability remains.
Mr Muenzel said most batteries could still be charged and discharged another 2000 times.
While electric vehicles currently make up only a small amount vehicle sales in Australia, by 2035 they are expected to represent just over one-quarter.
“Batteries are becoming a fundamental building block of the new energy industry and seeing significant uptake across households, businesses and the power grid,” Mr Muenzel said. “And this is just the beginning. There is an immense need for affordable and capable storage across almost all parts of our lives now and in the future.”
The company was formed through Melbourne University’s accelerator program.
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the investment would help Relectrify increase the longevity of second-life batteries, leading to lower battery costs in the future.
He said it would then make them an affordable and sustainable energy storage option for households with solar panels.
Australian Renewable Energy Agency chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said the company’s technology to recycle batteries would reduce waste and make home storage more affordable.
“Relectrify is led by bright and passionate Melbourne-based founders who are looking to bring an innovative idea to renewable energy storage solutions that can significantly lower the cost of energy storage in a sustainable way,” Mr Frischknecht said.
Rob Harris is national politics reporter – the Herald Sun, Australia.