GM Puts Old Volt Batteries To Use At New Data Center

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Originally published on Kompulsa.

Five used Chevy Volt batteries are partially powering the new GM Enterprise Data Center building at their Milford Proving Ground.

Red Chevy Volt EV
Image credit: mariordo59/Flickr.

What makes this battery reuse concept brilliant is the fact that almost everyone has uses for batteries, even if they are depleted. In addition to that, it is a great way to divert batteries from landfills, as the purchase of new batteries for the same purpose could be avoided.

“Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains,” said Pablo Valencia, senior manager, Battery Life Cycle Management. “This secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale.”

‘Dead’ EV batteries still have so much capacity left over because their owners have to replace them before their range dwindles too much. The leftover capacity can easily be augmented by connecting it with other dead batteries, resulting in a useful combined capacity. These batteries can provide the building with 4 hours of backup power in the event of a power outage.

This system is recharged by a 74 kW solar panel array and two 2 kW wind turbines. It sends excess energy back to the grid.

According to GM: “The secondary application is being used as a living lab to understand how the battery redistributes energy at this scale. And the company is working with partners to validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.”

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Nicholas Brown

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