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With the steady rise in the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), second-life batteries repurposed from EVs are becoming more readily available.

According to McKinsey, the stationary storage capacity provided by second-life lithium-ion batteries – also known as lithium-iron batteries or LiFe batteries – could exceed 200 gigawatt-hours or 0.2 terawatt-hours by 2030.

To put this in perspective, the entire United States uses a few terawatt-hours per year.

In short, second-life lithium-ion batteries are poised to revolutionise the power sector.

What are second-life lithium-ion batteries?

Second-life lithium-ion batteries are batteries that have been repurposed from electric vehicles. The batteries in EVs can only be used for a certain amount of time before they become heavy, inefficient for purpose and need to be replaced.

But these batteries still have a lot of life. This is why they’re being repurposed as battery backups, giving them a “second life”. Second-life batteries are more affordable than new lithium-ion batteries but are still efficient in less demanding applications.

In South Africa, REVOV is a leading supplier of high-quality 2ndLiFe lithium batteries.

McKinsey findings about second-life EV batteries

McKinsey’s insights predict rapid growth in the future of the second-life lithium-ion battery industry.

Potential market size and value for energy storage

The potential storage in batteries removed from EVs that can still be used for other applications could equal terawatt-hours of energy. Finding new applications for these second-life batteries can create a significant amount of value and bring down the cost of energy storage for the interested.

Recycling and disposal of these batteries are options, but they don’t offer the same value. Many countries don’t allow mass disposal and recycling is only worthwhile if there’s demand for the metals inside.

However, the question remains: why recycle a battery with many years of usage left? In this context, 2ndLiFe batteries are the perfect solution.

Key applications

Repurposed EV batteries offer the most value in markets where there’s a demand for stationary energy storage that requires less frequent battery cycling than a car.

These applications include storing energy for periods of scarcity, such as load shedding.

Other suitable applications include providing reserve energy capacity to maintain a utility’s power reliability at a lower cost and deferring transmission and distribution investments.

Two challenges

As with any new technology or industry, there are challenges. The first is the variety in battery design. With no standardised EV battery design, refurbishing these batteries is complex.

The second challenge is the rapidly closing gap between the cost of new batteries and second-life batteries. As new batteries become cheaper, the savings afforded by second-life batteries become less and less. If this cost variance becomes too small, the performance limitations become unacceptable (depending on application).

Second-life EV batteries in South Africa

With fewer electric cars on the roads, the uptake of second-life lithium-ion batteries has been slower in South Africa. However, innovative players in the battery backup industry have recognised the impact that imported second-life EV batteries can have.

Growing this industry will lead to more affordable battery backup and off-grid systems. It will boost the viability of renewable energy sources by establishing dependable energy storage options. This is something that renewables can’t be 100% viable without.

These new and exciting backup options will give more people and businesses access to real and affordable solutions to counter the impact of load shedding.

2ndLiFE lithium-ion batteries for sale in South Africa

REVOV offers 2ndLiFe lithium-ion batteries for sale for battery backups and power storage solutions. We work with the top installers to offer off-grid and backup solutions that ensure your home or business is never left in the dark.

We also offer all-in-one plug-and-play solutions that can be easily installed into any home or small business.

To find out more about what we offer, browse our product section or contact us for a quote or to discuss your needs.

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