CEC awards $2.9M to companies investigating second-life batteries for use in solar microgrids

Software and services company CleanSpark
and ReJoule, a battery diagnostics and optimization company announced that they
have been awarded a $2.9 million grant from the California Energy
Commission (CEC) to be deployed over the next 2.5 years.

As electric vehicles (EV) reach
the end of their lives, the batteries that drive them can retain a high
percentage of their original capacity, which presents opportunities for
repurposing them as low-cost stationary storage in a second-life application. 

The CEC grant proposal was for Validating
Capability of Second-life Batteries to Cost-Effectively Integrate Solar Power
for Small-Medium Commercial Building Applications
[1] with an underlying goal of
using second life batteries from EVs in a microgrid application. 

The $2.9M in funds will be
distributed to ReJoule and CleanSpark and will be further supported by Ford
Motor Company, BigBattery, and GRID Alternatives. CleanSpark expects to receive
approximately $470,000 of the grant funding for its microgrid design and mVSO
software services and follow-on deployment of its mPulse software and controls.
CleanSpark has also agreed to provide over $88,000 in matched funding. 

Ford will be donating used
EV battery modules and technical support. ReJoule, as the primary grant
recipient, will develop a battery grading process and degradation model and
will then collaborate with the other partners to validate the feasibility of
repurposing EV batteries for storage paired with solar PV systems to provide
building resiliency and load shifting services for small and medium-sized
commercial buildings.

The systems covered by the
grant will be deployed at two locations, Lucky Cat Labs, an artist’s studio
located in Los Angeles, California, and a Housing and Training center for the
Homeless, located in Santa Ana, California. They will both incorporate solar
and second-generation energy storage batteries controlled by CleanSpark’s
mPulse software and controls platform and ReJoule’s battery management

Steven Chung and Zora Chung, Co-Founders of ReJoule stated, “This is a big step towards our goal of enabling the circular economy for EV batteries. This project will address the technical challenges associated with repurposing used EV batteries and demonstrate our technology in a commercial setting. We are excited to work with our partners composed of companies and nonprofits dedicated to combating climate change through the deployment of clean energy solutions.”

Related second-life EV Battery News:

Zach Bradford CEO of CleanSpark
added, “This is an exciting opportunity for CleanSpark, we recognize the
need in the market to extend the life of battery energy storage solutions.
Electric Vehicle batteries are an ideal candidate to provide not only long-term
value for deployment in residential and commercial applications, but
repurposing used EV batteries can greatly assist in the avoidance of
potentially substantial disposal and recycling costs. We have found that cost
is generally the single largest factor that is considered by an end user. The
ability to effectively offer lower cost solutions using second life batteries
not only increases sustainability but it could potentially open up an entirely
new market to those who find new energy storage systems cost prohibitive.” 

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