Audi Focuses on Second Use, Instead of Early Recycling

audi focuses on second use rather than early recycling
audi focuses on second use rather than early recycling

Audi creates a new area of ​​use that will evaluate the battery modules used in its electric models after they end their life. In collaboration with the Audi Environment Foundation and the Nunam company, it began testing a prototype of an energy storage system made from used materials in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
In the initial results of the application, two used battery modules provided electricity for about 50 small shops for less than a week.

Audi is introducing the practice of 'second use instead of early recycling' in battery modules used in its electric cars. In the project, carried out in collaboration with Audi Environment Foundation and Audi's startup company Nunam, two battery modules from test cars were transformed into a solar-powered (solar) nanogrid.

The newly developed prototype energy storage system, which is being tested for daily use at a local energy service provider in India, meets the electricity needs of approximately 50 tradesmen and small businesses.

It was born from the idea of ​​supporting tradesmen

Saying that certain parts of Uttar Pradesh where the prototype was used had power outages that lasted for hours, Prodip Chatterjee, a co-founder of Nunam, said, “This situation made the lives of the people living in the region difficult. During a family visit, the idea came to my mind to keep important items used in daily life, such as lamps, to continue working. From here, the idea of ​​supporting electricity sources with mobile energy storage systems for second-time use arose. The shops stay open late at night in rural areas, and without light, the vast majority of tradesmen were losing their source of income, ”he said.

From laptop battery to car battery

Saying that certain parts of Uttar Pradesh where the prototype was used had power outages that lasted for hours, Prodip Chatterjee, a co-founder of Nunam, said, “This situation made the lives of the people living in the region difficult. During a family visit, the idea came to my mind to keep important items used in daily life, such as lamps, to continue working. From here, the idea of ​​supporting electricity sources with mobile energy storage systems for second-time use arose. The shops stay open late at night in rural areas, and without light, the vast majority of tradesmen were losing their source of income, ”he said.

The Audi Environment Foundation funded the first part of the pilot phase of the project, in which cells from old laptop batteries are transformed into energy storage systems for low-power devices such as lamps or smartphones. In the second project phase, the scope of application was expanded and much more powerful battery modules from Audi's electric test vehicles were used. Saying that the use of batteries for the second time offers great opportunities to increase sustainability, Chatterjee said, “While preventing the early recycling of properly functioning battery modules, we also ensure that people have cheap access to electricity. “We aim to turn battery storage systems into backup solutions.”

Yield, cycle of use and performance

By the end of their useful life, the performance capability of electric cars' batteries can still be preserved to a great extent. The technical condition of the battery modules is first checked in terms of capacity, voltage curve and temperature distribution. Transferring its experience from laptop batteries to automobile battery cells, the company showed that modules with a capacity of at least two-thirds are suitable for second use, provided that they also meet other quality and safety requirements.

In the project, the batteries replaced four lead-acid batteries in the solar nanogrid, which were depleted much faster. The prototype, which is also connected to the Internet with the help of a SIM card, regularly transmits data on the state of charge of the battery to Nunam. The initial results from Nunam's Nanogrid study, which plans to present the results of the tests online on an open platform in the near future, are promising: When fully charged, the battery modules can independently supply electricity for up to 50 small shops for LED bulbs for up to a week.

Technology can become sustainable

“We want to set an example in this area by supporting Nunam,” said Recknagel, who said that as a result of the increasing electrification of automobiles around the world, it is necessary to evaluate the possible uses of electric cars' batteries. First, we want to prove that modern technology can become sustainable if you evaluate the first use intended as well as the second and even third use purposes determined during the development process. We also want to support young researchers, in particular, who do not have access to the same resources as established companies. Environmental education and an inquisitive spirit are indispensable for a livable future. " said.

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