Sumitomo builds solar power project with recycled electric vehicle batteries

Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp. developed and installed large-scale power storage system that uses used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale energy storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating 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 power project, and will aim to establish a large-scale power storage technology by using the huge quantities of discarded used electric vehicle 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 Corp. created the joint venture company, 4R Energy Corp., in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. The used electric vehicle 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.

Sumitomo will seek new business opportunities that can make use of the energy storage system, as well as work on developing new applications for used EV batteries. The company aims to actively promote this approach, which can both contribute to expanding the use of electric vehicle and encourage the use of renewable energy.

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