Toyota has announced its agreement with Chubu Electric Power to begin investigating potential recycling uses for used batteries, as well as a verification project that would construct a large-capacity battery storage system, which would reuse EV batteries.
The companies are planning to reuse old vehicle batteries, which have begun to pile up as technological advancement is beginning to render older battery models obsolete. However, even with reduced storage capabilities, the batteries should, in theory, be able to be bundled in large numbers to address a variety of challenges in electric power system management.
Ideally, these massive battery packs can be easily repurposed to deal with a number of issues, ranging from energy supply-demand adjustments, or frequency fluctuation management or even pointedly address such issues in power distribution systems, all of which are factors which are expected to largely accompany a wide-spread introduction of renewable energy systems.
In 2018 the two companies plan to complete their verification test, which, if it succeeds, will pave the way for a power generation capacity of approximately 10,000kW in 2020. Initial stages will focus on nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, while by 2030 the manufacturers plan to include lithium-ion batteries.
They also consider establishing a recycling mechanism for old batteries to collect rare-earth metals and re-utilize them, in order to help reuse materials as well as place less dependence on the extraction of such materials.