From Used Batteries to Microgrid Storage System

General Motors (GM) and ABB have successfully converted used Chevy Volt batteries into a modular microgrid energy storage system that can support distributed generation and provide emergency backup power.

Other microgrid energy storage systems have recently come online, but this one is the first to revolve around batteries from electric vehicles.

The system, comprised of five used Volt batteries, can provide 25 kilowatts (kW) of power for about two hours for a total energy capacity of 50 kWh. This capacity could provide enough electricity to power three to five average American homes for two hours.

Chevy Volt battery packs hold around 16 kWh of electricity when first installed, but over time lose capacity and are unable to meet the electric vehicle’s needs. This new breakthrough could extend the life of batteries and make their manufacturing more profitable.

A similar application could power a group of homes or small commercial businesses during a power outage, store excess power during off-peak periods at low-price periods to sell back to the grid for a profit during peak demand, or balance intermittent supply from wind or solar generation.

The battery system also includes an inverter to convert direct current from the batteries to alternating current for use from conventional wall sockets, further expanding its potential use.

Regardless of the ultimate applications, the GM-ABB system is a major step toward making two of the most important clean energy technologies – advanced batteries and renewable generation – more cost-effective and reliable.

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.

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