Redwood Supplies Will Recycle Hawaiian Grid Batteries







Lithium-ion battery recycling took a giant step ahead this week, as a Hawaiian utility introduced it’s endeavor one of many largest examples of grid storage recycling in North America so far.

The Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative is working with Redwood Supplies to decommission the Anahola Photo voltaic Mission substation and recycle its lithium-ion batteries with a view to make new batteries.

The Anahola recycling challenge is among the earliest examples of stationary storage recycling. As such, it units the stage for an anticipated rise in stationary battery storage recycling sooner or later. A Redwood Supplies spokesman stated that “profitable decommissioning of those preliminary initiatives serves as an trade mannequin for future gigawatt-scale initiatives.”

By electrical grid requirements, Anahola’s 4 megawatt-hour storage facility will not be large. Nevertheless, its praise of lithium-ion batteries is among the largest to be recycled up to now. “The factor to remember is that the large-scale lithium battery sector is comparatively younger,” famous Sam Abuelsamid, the principal analyst for transportation and mobility on the market intelligence agency Guidehouse Insights. “The overwhelming majority of batteries are nowhere close to finish of life but. They’re not prepared for recycling.”

In-built 2015, the Anahola station is sufficiently old that its batteries have reached their finish of life. The station had been utilizing the batteries to retailer energy from 53 acres of photovoltaic panels, which was then used to energy properties, companies, and streetlights on Hawaii’s Kaua’i Island. The ability’s substation included eight stationary energy containers made up of two,320 lithium-ion battery modules in complete. All the lithium-ion cells employed nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide chemistry (NCA). Redwood Supplies wouldn’t identify the unique provider of the NCA batteries, however did say it was not Tesla (Redwood Supplies was launched by Tesla co-founder JB Straubel).

Following substation decommissioning, the Anahola photo voltaic facility will proceed to function, however will probably be a direct-to-grid photo voltaic facility, a Redwood Supplies spokesman stated.

Two people in hardhats stand next to a large container divided into three sections, each with an open door.Redwood Supplies’ founder JB Straubel [left, in vest] labored with Anahola within the decommissioning and recycling of the substation batteries.Redwood Supplies

Anahola is the largest stationary storage recycling challenge for Redwood Supplies so far, however continues to be solely a small a part of Redwood’s enterprise. Since its launch in 2017, the corporate has got down to create a “round provide chain” of lithium-ion batteries for electrical autos and clear vitality merchandise. Final yr, it recycled roughly 10 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries, which might be sufficient for 100,000 electrical autos, the corporate stated. A lot of the recycled materials got here from client electronics batteries and manufacturing scrap.

Plans are for a speedy rise in these numbers over the following few years. Final December, Redwood Supplies introduced plans for a US $3.5 billion “Battery Supplies Campus” simply exterior Charleston, South Carolina, the place it will definitely expects to recycle 100 GWh of battery anode and cathode supplies per yr. The 600-acre campus will probably be one of many largest financial growth initiatives within the historical past of South Carolina.

Such plans are vital for the way forward for the home battery trade, specialists say, as a result of they’d allow EV and battery producers to supply supplies from inside america. Presently, supplies equivalent to nickel, manganese, lithium, and cobalt are sourced from Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, South America, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere.

“As an alternative of mining it within the floor, it simply is smart that it might be cheaper to get well the supplies from recycled, end-of-life objects,” stated Jeffrey Spangenberger, group chief for supplies recycling at Argonne Nationwide Laboratory.

Battery producers hope that recycled supplies will allow them to dramatically lower product value. The U.S. Division of Power’s Power Storage Grand Problem Roadmap has referred to as for battery pack prices to be decreased from about $140 per kilowatt-hour immediately to $80/kWh by 2030, and most specialists imagine that recycling would help in that discount as a result of it might diminish the necessity to get hold of supplies from overseas.

“We have now to get the supplies from someplace,” Spangenberger stated. “So the thought is, purchase it as soon as and hold it right here.”

Grid storage batteries would play an vital position in that future plan as a result of these functions are sometimes very giant, containing tens of millions of lithium-ion cells. Many giant grid storage websites exist already in North America. In California, large grid storage initiatives embody the Moss Touchdown facility in Monterey, which gives 400 megawatts of battery storage, and the McCoy Photo voltaic Power challenge in Riverside County, which has 230 MW of storage. The Manatee Power Storage Heart in Florida additionally has 409 MW of battery storage and the Kaua’I Island Utility Cooperative has a 52-MW battery storage facility that went on-line in 2017. Final yr alone, america deployed 4.8 GW of stationary storage, based on statistics from the American Public Energy Affiliation.

“It’s going to proceed to develop,” Spangenberger stated. “That’s why it’s going to be vital to have the ability to recycle at giant scale.”

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