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Environment

Batteries Live To Die Another Day

by Jessica Morrison
January 4, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 1

Hundreds of thousands of used batteries from electric vehicles could find second life as energy storage devices in the coming decade, according to a report from the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The nickel-metal-hydride batteries and lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles have about 80% of their energy storage capability left when they are no longer sufficient for vehicular use, says the organization, which consists of the top environmental officials from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Applications for these used batteries might exist for residential and commercial electric power management and power grid stabilization, the commission says, adding that “considerable research is under way in the U.S. and elsewhere to fully explore this potential.” Last year, General Motors used five first-generation Chevrolet Volt electric car batteries alongside a solar array and two wind turbines to power its data center in Milford, Mich. The commission estimates that 358,000 batteries from electric vehicles will be retired in North America by 2020, and that number is expected to grow to 1.5 million by 2030.

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