Jaguar Land Rover to reuse its car batteries to store national grid power

The UK's largest carmaker has announced plans to use old car batteries to store energy the national grid can't use and return it to the network at peak times.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is turning its used car batteries into what it says will be one of the largest energy storage systems in the UK.

Battery storage can be used to hold excess power during off peak times, when there's a mismatch between supply of electricity (from wind farms, for example), and demand for energy.

That power can then be released and fed back into the grid when needed.

The JLR battery scheme aims to supply enough batteries to power 750 homes for a day, equivalent to 7.5 megawatt hours of energy, by the end of this year.

Electric car batteries can be reused, JLR said, due to the high standards they meet, meaning they can be used again when they fall below the "stringent" requirements of an electric vehicle.

Typically they're left with 70% to 80% residual capacity.

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The batteries will be stored in containers across the Chelveston renewable energy park in Northamptonshire.

And there's scope to grow the programme as more containers can be created to house additional used batteries from vehicles in the future, JLR said.

Used batteries could be utilised even further in years to come, JLR added.

Used battery supply for energy storage could exceed 200 gigawatt-hours per year by 2030, creating a global value over $30bn (£23.5bn), according to a 2019 McKinsey report.

Wind farms can be told to power down during windy periods when there is not the demand for electricity or the grid cannot cope with all the energy being transferred.

Energy storage is seen as a solution to this problem of renewable electricity being generated but not being used because it cannot be moved from where it was generated to where it can be used due to national grid constraints.

The announcement demonstrates that electric vehicle (EV) batteries often outlast the vehicles themselves, and even when no longer suitable for use in cars, can find new lives elsewhere, said the head of transport, Colin Walker, at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

"Most of the metals in EV batteries can be recycled (only 30kg is lost once everything else has been recycled) - meanwhile, by the time it comes to the end of its life, a petrol car has irretrievably burnt 17,000 litres of fuel," he said.