Jaguar Land Rover recycles EV batteries to store grid power

The UK’s largest can manufacturer has announced an ambitious plan to recycle old batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) to store excess energy from the national grid so it can then be used at peak times. 

One concern about EVs is that the lithium batteries they rely on often outlast the vehicles themselves. As take-up of EVs increases – encouraged by government plans to meet net zero targets – questions have been raised about what to do with all these batteries.

Solar farm with wind turbines, photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Wykes Engineering battery story system using ‘second life’ Jaguar I-PACE batteries, photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

For understandable safety reasons, EV batteries must meet high standards. But that means they Jaguar I-PACE batteries typically still have between 70% and 80% of their capacity when they can no longer be used in EVs.  

Now JLR has partnered with Wykes Engineering Ltd to reuse these batteries to develop one of the largest energy storage systems in the UK to harness solar and wind power. 

We’re generating ever more renewable energy through tech such as wind turbines and solar power, but there’s an ongoing challenge in sharing this energy so that it can be used widely. As we’ve reported, there are delays in connecting to the national grid. Even where connections are made, there are limits on how much energy can be transferred to the grid at one time. In fact, during windy periods, some wind farms power down because there is not sufficient local demand for the energy created and no means to transfer or store it. 

The aim of JLR’s scheme is to store any such excess power in recycled EV batteries, which can then be fed back into the national grid when needed at peak times. This hope is that this will make a significant contribution to decarbonising the grid. 

Batteries will be stored in containers in the renewable energy park at Chelveston,  Northamptonshire. A single Wykes Engineering BESS container comprises 30 I-PACE batteries and at full capacity can store up to 2.5 megawatts (MWh) of energy. An advanced inverter maximises efficiency and manages energy.  

Batteries are simply removed from the Jaguar I-PACE and slotted into racks in the containers on-site, helping to maximise the sustainability of the project.

Wykes Engineering BESS container for reused Jaguar I-PACE batteries, photo courtesy of JLR

JLR battery energy storage system at Wykes Engineering, photo courtesy of JLR

To begin with, batteries are being taken from prototype and engineering test vehicles with the aim by the end of the year to store a total of 7.5 MWh of energy – enough to power 750 homes for a day. This will make it one of the largest energy storage systems in the UK.  

If successful, further containers can be produced, recycling batteries from used production vehicles.  JLR says used battery supply for energy storage could exceed 200 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year by 2030, with a global value of more than £23.5bn according to a 2019 McKinsey report.  

Then, once the battery health falls below the required level for use in the storage containers, JLR will recycle again, recovering raw materials for further use. The company is keen to adopt circular economy principles based on a philosophy of ‘Use Less, Use Longer, Use Again’. It aims to achieve carbon net zero  across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.  

François Dossa, Executive Director of Strategy and Sustainability at JLR, says: ‘Our sustainability approach addresses the entire value chain of our vehicles, including circularity of EV batteries.  Our EV batteries are engineered to the highest standards and this innovative project, in collaboration with Wykes Engineering, proves they can be safely reused for energy sector application to increase renewable energy opportunities. Using the 70-80% residual capacity in EV batteries, before being recycled, demonstrates full adoption of circularity principles. 

‘Working together with industry-leading partners, we are developing a complete EV ecosystem, from batteries to charging, supporting our net-zero transformation.’ 

Reuben Chorley, Sustainable Industrial Operations Director at JLR, adds: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Wykes Engineering on this pioneering project that will help unlock the true potential of renewable energy. Developing second-life battery projects like this is crucial to helping JLR adopt a new circular economy business model and drive us toward achieving carbon net zero by 2039.’ 

David Wykes, Managing Director of Wykes Engineering, says: ‘One of the major benefits of the system we’ve developed is that the containers are connected to the Grid in such a way that they can absorb solar energy ,that could otherwise be lost when the grid reaches capacity. This excess energy can now be stored in the second life I-PACE batteries and discharged later .This allows us to ‘overplant’ the solar park and maximise the amount of power we generate for the area of land we are using.’

In related news:

Green light for huge green energy project in Portsmouth 

Rapid EV chargers for three North Yorkshire market towns 

Coventry lathe business saves £20,000 a year with solar PV and LEDs


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top