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⚡ Repurposing EV Batteries

My Climate Journey

Photo by Kumpan Electric / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Edward Chiang | Co-Founder & CEO | Moment Energy
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:43] “At Moment Energy, what we're doing is we're repurposing electric vehicle batteries for renewable energy storage. So I started this company with […] three of my best friends. We were all mechatronics systems engineers from Canada, we're based in Vancouver. We just have a passion for clean tech, and electric vehicles and trying to help make the world cleaner.”

[6:50] “Actually, only 5% of all EV batteries are responsibly recycled. […] If they're not recycled, […] [a lot of batteries] end up in landfills, unfortunately. […] Why are they ending up in landfills and shelves and not being recycled? And we found, this recycling technology just isn't there yet. […] It's still going to take 10 to 15 years before […] [everyone is] gonna be able to recycle these batteries. At the same time […] [we noticed that] there's an average of 80% life left in these batteries. What's the point of even throwing these batteries in landfills, or even recycling them if I can repurpose them for an extra 7 […] to 15 years, and then recycle them, therefore creating a full circular economy?”

[8:42] “Repurposing EV batteries isn't easy. […] [We’ll] get batteries that are […] 80% life left versus another battery could be 90% life left and therefore when you put these two different state of health batteries together into the same system, the whole system is actually bogged down by the lowest quality battery, which is not easy to manage for the battery management system. And what the battery management system does is it safely charges and discharges the battery. Your phone has, it your laptop has it, any lithium based devices has it, but right now, battery management systems are pretty dumb. So for this problem, we're developing the solution where we're being the best BMS, so battery managed system for second life specific applications. […] If the baseline life for a second life battery is 7 years, then we're aiming to get 8, 9 years, even more years out of the batteries too.”

[13:13] “We don't take batteries that are less than 50% state of health left. But there are already studies that have been popping up and potentially even companies that will pop up soon in the next couple years that say, we can actually get a third life out of these batteries. And then you can put them in even less stressful applications, such as, backup power for data centers, where you barely will use the batteries, maybe once a year, therefore, you can afford to have a third light for these batteries, which is exciting.”

[13:50] “Right now, we're the only Canadian company working with Nissan North America. […] We're also working with a couple European OEMs and other […] Asian OEMs, as well. And in terms of applications that we've been deploying in as we've been taking these matters directly from the auto manufacturers […] and then we have been deploying them in […] off grid residential. So that essentially means somebody that's been living on an island or […] in the middle of nowhere, where they have to produce their own energy, they have their own solar, they have their own little diesel generator. And right now, their only solution is they have lead acid batteries, which is pretty bad quality for their use case, because for off grid, you're charging and discharging that battery every single day. So a lead acid battery typically has, let's say about 500, 600 cycles in them. So if you cycle them every day, then ideally in best case scenarios, you'll get maybe under 2 years out of them, while lithium batteries have tens of thousands of cycles.”

[15:17] “Our goal is to install some high quality lithium second life batteries meant for EV […] and then we can store solar. […] In the summer months, especially here in Canada, […] the diesel generators are barely turned on. Of course, in the winter, what happens is, there's maybe not enough solar, so they'll turn on the diesel generator, power that house for a little bit, but also charge up the batteries. And then they can shut off the diesel generator, once the batteries are charged up, and the batteries can be discharging again. So it's like a hybrid car type setting.”

[15:55] “We're seeing, especially with the battery architecture, and also […] how underserved this market is, we've been deploying in commercial industrial applications. So within off grid, that's rural communities, mining sites, aquaculture sites, where they again have these huge diesel generators that are wasting lots and lots of fuel. But then on the on grid setting, that's […] small to medium manufacturing buildings, EV charging infrastructure, corporate buildings, where they're faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility bills a year, mainly because they're overstressing the grid and the grid can't take all the power that's required from them. […] We're helping with grid resilience as one one aspect, but at the same time, helping these on grid individuals transition into renewables, again, into storage and into other forms like solar and whatnot.”

[17:06] “Currently recycling is super expensive and […] it's projected to be so for another 10-15 plus years, so right now in North America, we don't have any laws that put the responsibility of end of life batteries on to the automaker, just yet. […] It means that's right now, a lot of EV vehicle drivers and consumers might not know this, but there's a $4,000 bill waiting for them. […] That's the cost of recycling that lithium battery. […] [In] Asia [and] half of all EU countries, it is already mandated by law that the automaker has to be responsible for their own end of life batteries. […] So all of our partners who are really international have seen we already have the infrastructure to recycle and repurpose these batteries. Now we're seeing North America moving towards this as well, [they] need to find the right partners to be able to manage these batteries […] so that [they] don't have to incur that $4,000 bill.”

[36:10] “It's been projected by McKinsey that by 2030, there's going to be 200 to 300 gigawatt hours of […] end of life EV energy storage available. So even with recyclers, with […] multiple second life companies popping up, it’ll be a huge team effort to ensure these batteries don't end up in landfills, but also creating value out of these batteries. […] That's […] why a lot of the new lithium companies have been interested [in] working with companies like us as as a buyer, because we can unlock this huge supply as right now they're majorly majorly supply constrained over the next couple”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Startup Series: Moment Energy")
🕰️ 43 min | 🗓️ 02/17/2022
✅ Time saved: 41 min

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