Datum 2020-05-07
Artikeltyp News

Research for increased battery life and better environment

This article was written before our official name change on January 1, 2022 from Mälardalen University (MDH) to Mälardalen University (MDU).

In five years, about 250,000 tonnes of batteries from trains, cars and other electric vehicles will reach their service life. Today, only one fifth of the battery's full capacity is utilised, which has major consequences for our environment. MDH is now investigating how the remaining capacity could be utilized by companies to extend battery life.

– Today, about 20 percent of the battery's full capacity is utilised and thereafter they can no longer be used to operate an electric vehicle. We are therefore exploring possibilities for how the remaining 80 percent could be utilised by companies to extend the battery´s life, says Erik Dahlquist, Professor of Energy Engineering at MDH.

Recently, a kick-off was organised for Secondary Life Management of Electric Vehicle Batteries (Recreate), which is a three-year funded Knowledge Foundation (KKS) research project in collaboration with Volvo Construction Equipment AB, Bombardier Transportation AB, Kablageproduktion AB, Mälarenergi AB, Eskilstuna Strängnäs Energi and Miljö AB and Volvo Parts AB to develop strategies and applications for second-life use of electric vehicle batteries.

– With the help of our project partners, we will analyse the battery's value chain and propose solutions for how the batteries would be used in operations to extend their service life. In particular, we will develop methods and processes that will support businesses in that process, says Koteshwar Chirumalla, Project manager of the Recreate project and Associate Professor in Product and Process Development at MDH.

Two research environments at MDH, Innovation and Product Realisation (IPR) and Future Energy Centre (FEC), are collaborating to investigate on this important societal challenge, which is connected to several global sustainable goals.

– We will work on this project for the next three years. Our goal is to develop a suitable framework for continuous evaluation of business modelling in electric vehicle battery value chain. It is an important societal challenge which is connected to several global sustainable goals. In addition, we would also want to support regional SME:s who are interested to explore circular business model opportunities in the electro mobility context, says Koteshwar Chirumalla.

batteriets kretslopp

Recreate project idea

An important project for the companies

At present, there is limited research on how batteries could be used for second life as part of a business model, where the batteries could be used in many less demanding and stationary energy storage applications such as back-up power, supply power to municipalities to supply street lights, and charging electric vehicles in carparks etcetera.

– For us as a company in recycling and electricity grids, this is an important project. Like many others, we want to use the resources that are already available in a sustainable and wise way. It opens up new opportunities for us, says Kjell Andersson, CEO of Eskilstuna Strängnäs Energi & Miljö AB.

During the kick-off meeting, Bombardier Transportation, among others, presented current barriers and opportunities with the second-life solutions from their perspective. There is an interesting discussion on how to create a win-win situation in an electric vehicle battery value chain.

– The project is interesting to us since battery second-life could further reduce the environmental impact, bringing additional value to our markets. Presently there are many questions related to battery second-life that we think Recreate will help address, including technology potential and feasibility as well as the overall process and ecosystem from first-life to second-life users, says Ganesh Chandramouli. Product Manager, Propulsion Systems at Bombardier Transportation.

Besides the companies collaborating in the project, the Mälardalen Industrial Technology Center (MITC) has an important role in supporting the project and building bridges with the collaboration companies.

– The Recreate project is important to MITC as it builds on previous and ongoing projects supporting the vehicle industry in the ongoing technological transformation. Through research projects such as these we can further strengthen the region as a competitive manufacturing node and support our suppliers, says Anna Bird, Manager at MITC.

About the research project at MDH

From MDH, four senior researchers and three PhD students will work on this project for the next three years.

Read more about the project and the research specilisations that are included in the project

Recreate: Secondary Life Management of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Recreate aims to develop knowledge on how to achieve efficient and economically feasible second life management solutions for EV batteries to improve the Swedish manufacturing industry' competitiveness.

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Future Energy

The Earth’s resources are finite and the world is facing comprehensive challenges. The creation of a sustainable supply of energy is a must. MDH’s research in Future Energy Center is internationally recognised, and numerous projects are conducted together with private enterprise.

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Innovation and Product Realisation

MDU's research in Innovation and Product Realisation endeavours to underpin and stimulate innovative power and creativity to produce new products, services and production methods.

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