Deutsche Bahn and Kia Reuse Electric Car Batteries for Energy Storage Systems

Deutsche Bahn and Kia to Reuse Electric Car Batteries for Energy Storage Systems

The Korean carmaker Kia and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have partnered to give a second life to batteries used in electric vehicles. The solution is to reuse used lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles to create efficient and cost-effective energy storage systems for green electricity. The second-life energy storage solutions are modular and can be integrated into a wide variety of different applications.

For example, save surplus electricity from photovoltaic systems or, as part of a distribution system, it can supply power throughout the day to DB maintenance depots and depots where trains are prepared for operations. In turn, it can help cut the cost of power peaks substantially. Encore, a corporate startup of DB Bahnbau Gruppe GmbH, is handling the process from procurement of the used batteries to production.

“It’s more urgent than ever for us to save power and our new second-life battery energy storage systems offer a solution that is also sustainable, and that makes it an attractive option for any industry,” said Mr Berthold Huber, a Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn for Infrastructure.

Encore begins series production and distribution of several hundred battery energy storage systems in 2023. In July 2022, the first pilot project went into operation at the EUREF campus in Berlin, with additional batteries energy storage systems being installed at various DB locations, including the ICE maintenance depot in Leipzig, the digital test center in the Saxon town of Scheibenberg, and Zorneding station in Bavaria.

Essentially any company that has high power and/or energy demands and wants to focus on renewable energy, while reducing its environmental impact, can benefit from Encore’s second life battery energy storage system.

“As one of the leading brands for electric mobility in Europe, Kia will expand its range of electric cars to 14 models by 2027,” says Mr Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe. “We’re also investing in sustainable solutions, including solutions for batteries once their first life in the vehicle comes to an end. This groundbreaking partnership between Kia and DB is proof that the two companies think of batteries as valuable resources in a sustainable circular economy,” he added.

The acquirement of batteries comprises of Kia dealerships sending the batteries directly to Encore, which inspects them and analyzes them for safety and quality. For battery modules that have enough remaining capacity, they will become second-life battery energy storage systems, while Encore sends any that do not have enough life left to be recycled appropriately.

Once the batteries and new energy storage units are ready for transportation, they are sent throughout Europe mainly by DB’s logistics affiliates, DB Schenker and DB Cargo. For proper transport, there are strict legal requirements for transporting and storing battery modules, such as labeling and temperature control during transport, which can be a complex procedure.

“Batteries are the backbone of the global move toward electrification in the mobility sector, and encore has developed an exciting solution to give old batteries a second life, and we are delighted to support this innovative project with our services tailored specifically to battery logistics,” said Mr Christian Moser, the Global Solution Manager for E-Mobility at DB Schenker.

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