Germany’s Fenecon Builds ESS Factory to Recycle EV Batteries – Energy Storage News | CarTailz

Energy storage hardware and software company Fenecon has started construction of a new factory in Germany that will convert electric vehicle (EV) batteries into stationary storage systems.

The new site in Iggensbach, Bavaria, will produce large battery energy storage systems (BESS) using EV batteries paired with energy management systems (EMS).

Construction of the site, dubbed CarBatteryReFactory, officially began last week on November 18 with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Fenecon, which announced the development yesterday, said the project represents an investment of around 22 million euros (US$22.72 million), with funding contributions of 4.5 million euros from the European Union (EU) Innovation Fund and 1.7 million euros from the local Bavarian business development agency.

Some funds were also raised through crowdfunding investments, and Fenecon noted that the evening after the groundbreaking, more than 200 locals attended a community information and engagement event.

Known as “second life” usage, batteries previously used for transportation can be repurposed for on-grid or off-grid stationary energy storage applications.

It’s an area of ​​growing interest in the global battery storage industry, with McKinsey predicting that about 227 GWh of used EV batteries will be available by the end of this decade.

Earlier this year, Nicolo Campagnol, solutions manager at McKinsey Battery Insights, told our quarterly journal PV tech power that second life will not be a dominant technology in the field of energy storage, but will play a large niche and an important role.

Campagnol also suggested that second-life batteries could be a viable supply chain option, especially for smaller BESS integrators, when availability is limited, as is currently the case.

Fenecon, which has been in the second life business since 2017, will be able to scale up from small-scale production at the current plant to large-scale production at the CarBatteryReFactory by the end of next year, the company said.

“The recognition by the European Union and the funding by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs make this innovative project of industrialized production for the transition from mobile batteries to stationary batteries possible in the first place,” said Fenecon founder and CEO Franz-Josef Feilmeier.

“We are proud to be able to further promote the 100 percent energy transition with this extremely sensible secondary use of e-car batteries and to create urgently needed electricity storage capacities in Germany.”

In an article published yesterday on this website, various companies involved with second-life batteries for BESS commented on how useful the technology could be in building a more sustainable battery industry based on circular economy principles.

As soon as batteries are below 80% capacity after a few years of use in electric vehicles, they are no longer suitable for this application. However, stationary energy storage applications can place much less demands on batteries – depending on how they are used – and these secondary EV batteries can often serve them adequately.

Yesterday’s article noted that “Third Life” batteries could also become a useful niche in the market: After being used for transport, the batteries could be used for a while for grid-stabilizing system services. Once they’ve degraded a little further and lost a little more capacity, they might find their third purpose as backup energy resources.

However, Fenecon noted that production at its Iggenbach plant will initially begin with conventional batteries developed for BESS, and will begin large-scale production of EV batteries from 2024, including new and used batteries.

The factory’s production capacity has not yet been announced, but Fenecon claimed it will be Europe’s largest second life-based factory.

Fenecon sees one of its key differentiators and strengths in its EMS technology, which it says is future-proof. In addition to renewable energy and battery storage controls, it is also designed to integrate numerous other energy resources such as heating.

At this year’s Intersolar Europe / Electrical Energy Storage Europe trade fair in Munich, Franz-Josef Feilmeier from Fenecon said that having an open source ecosystem would be of great benefit to the industry for both hardware and software.

Enabling compatibility between different energy storage systems, electric vehicle chargers, heat pumps and other technologies would reduce costs and improve accessibility. As an example, Feilmeier cited smartphones based on common operating system platforms that are open to different app developers.

Second life battery storage will be the focus of a feature article in the upcoming Q4 2022 issue PV tech power, due in December. More information about subscribing can be found here.

Energy-Storage.news publisher Solar Media will host the 8th annual Energy Storage Summit EU on 22-23 February 2023 in London. This year it is moving to a larger location, bringing together Europe’s leading investors, policy makers, developers, utilities and energy buyers and service providers in one place. Visit the official website for more information.

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