Energy storage system (ESS) deployment is growing, with developers installing more projects at a faster pace. However, only a handful have yet to manage ESS facilities at the end of a system’s life.
U.S. Energy Storage Association has just published a white paper on the subject.
“Energy storage is experiencing a period of rapid deployment growth, and even in the midst of an economic downturn, global analysts’ projections indicate this trend is poised to continue due to increasingly attractive economics and the value storage provides from multiple grid services.”
“While many developers and owners are gaining experience deploying and operating grid-connected energy storage systems (ESS), few have yet to manage ESS facilities at the end of a system’s life. But ESS owners, operators and developers may be able to apply some of the lessons learned from the auto industry’s experience as it confronts the task of managing an increasing stock of used Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries from electric vehicles (EVs).”
“Both grid-connected ESS and EVs rely on Li-ion batteries, and the phenomenal growth in Li-ion applications creates stress along the entire value chain–from mining raw material inputs, such as lithium and rarer elements, to manufacturing and disposition of the batteries once they reach the end of their useful lives. This linear depiction of material and energy use in the economy – from extraction of natural resources to production, use, and disposal – may present significant environmental consequences as the volume of battery production increases.”
“An alternative model has emerged that instead attempts to mimic nature in the way inputs are used in production of goods, which upon reaching the end of their useful lives are then reused and/or recycled as inputs again. Such “circular economy” concepts are prevalent in the debates surrounding how to best manage the Li-ion battery life cycle.”
“In April 2019, the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) launched the Corporate Responsibility Initiative (CRI) with dozens of industry leaders to share advanced safety practices and develop educational materials and resources on safety, emergency preparedness, and lifecycle management. This paper focuses on the end-of-life management of Li-ion batteries, offering a review of options from the circular economy perspective. A related forthcoming CRI track will look at supply chain issues, which represents another arc along the circular economy, one which may increasingly rely on materials recovered after the end of (first or subsequent) life application.”
Full document HERE