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The downside of electric power is that raw materials (such as lithium) used in batteries are scarce and battery recycling is in its infancy. Not to mention that not all power is generated in a green way.

A first step towards tackling this problem was taken recently by Repsol, a Spanish energy company, with the commissioning of a charging station built from discarded battery packs. This means that the station offers a permanent storage for electricity.

Repsol has tackled the problem by commissioning a charging station made up of discarded battery packs.

The system is designed to know when to draw power from the grid to charge the battery and when to draw power from the permanent battery storage used to charge the car. This functionality is monitored from the control center of IBIL, which manages Repsol’s charging grid. The aim is to optimize the flow of energy from the grid and the storage system.

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New charging concept

The power consumption of the grid that is needed to operate the charging station is 70 percent lower than the standard. This means that a 50 kW fast -charging station can be put into operation with a grid connection as low as 15 kW. Another advantage is that these kinds of charging stations take up very little space. The battery charging station is less than one square meter in size.

This breakthrough in charging technology simplifies and facilitates the installation of 50 kW charging stations in places where there is not enough electrical capacity. This is not uncommon across vast areas of southern Europe where few people live. The new charging concept is also a solution for situations where the grid investments that are needed are too high.

Second-hand batteries

The discarded batteries come from electric buses made by Irizar, a Spanish bus manufacturer. Their (first) life cycle was as much as six years. The first charging station with ‘second-hand batteries’ is on the freeway that runs from Madrid to the French border near the Basque town of Tolosa. The Spanish company IBIL is collaborating on the project along with Repsol and Irizar. IBIL works on charging technologies for electric vehicles. According to the initiators, this is one of the first charging stations in Europe that is based on this technology.

Read about various charging technologies for EVs here.

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About the author

Author profile picture Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian design. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contributions to progress.