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Second life assessment of Lithium-ion cells for micro grid energy storage

Lithium-ion batteries are often used for mobile electrical devices such as cellphones, laptops and cars. This type of battery is popular because it has a high energy density compared to others. Although they have many advantages, there is still one big drawback: their usable capacity fades with use and over time. Therefore, they reach a moment when they no longer work or don't meet energy and power requirements for a mobile device. Then these batteries can land on the garbage, because only a few substances contained within are economically interesting and especially, recycling of lithium-ion cells remains expensive. However, many cells of a battery can still be "healthy", this means, they can still save energy efficiently. Even the chip contained in each laptop battery, which measures quantities such as current, temperature, voltage, etc., balances the cells and performs safety functions, could be reutilized. With all these "ingredients" you have the opportunity to build a new cheap battery, which is could be used for example, as energy storage for a house.​


Although the energy density will be lower than of a new battery, this solution could be advantageous in poor countries where there is a great need for cheap energy storage. Especially in small villages that have no reliable energy supply or for the integration of renewable energy such as solar and wind into the local power grid. In such an environment, the batteries can have a second life!

As part of the doctorate of a Chilean PhD student, supervised by our department, more than 150 batteries were disassembled and a prototype battery was produced. This project is funded for three years by the Chilean science exchange National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research CONICYT and the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD.  The battery produced will be used to support the operation of a PV station to charge electric bikes, located at the 17. Juni street. This station was granted funds by the sustainability council of the TU Berlin, and we hope, will be open for the public in a few months. You can find more information of this investigation here.


Batteries searched

Our department is still looking for batteries for the project! If you have any, you are welcome to hand it over to Laboratory Manager Lars Krüger, Building EMH, Room 130, Einsteinufer 11.

To collect more notebook batteries, we intent to establish a partnership with the E-waste race, a project that collects E-waste in cities, while at the same time, teachs children about this growing problem. The project is now gathering funds from a crowdfunding campaign. So, if you don't have a battery and still want to support this initiative, you can donate to the campaign in the following link: https://plana.earth/project/ewaste-race-germany

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M.Sc. Felipe Salinas
030 314 73503
Room EMH 128


Technische Universität Berlin
Electrical Energy Storage Technology
Institute of Energy and Automation Technology
Faculty IV
sec. EMH 2
Einsteinufer 11
D-10587 Berlin