The Japanese company Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed the world’s first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, started operation in February 2014.
Over the next three years, the system will measure the smoothing effect of energy output fluctuation from the nearby “Hikari-no-mori,” solar farm, and will aim to establish a large-scale power storage technology by safely and effectively utilizing the huge quantities of discarded used batteries which will become available in the future. This project has been selected as a model project for “Verification of the battery storage control to promote renewable energy” for the fiscal year 2013 by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.
Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, “4R Energy Corporation”, in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of electric vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries. The used batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used electric vehicle batteries.
Battery Business Development Department General Manager, Norihiko Nonaka said “We are pleased to be a part of such an important verification project that can both utilize used electric vehicle batteries, and provide a large-scale power storage facility, which are important issues that need to be addressed for the future of renewable energy.”
Sumitomo say that they will will seek new business opportunities which can make use of the highly economical storage system, as well as work on developing new applications for used vehicle batteries. The company aims to actively promote this approach, which can both contribute to expanding the use of electric vehicles and encourage the use of renewable energy.