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The used battery revolution - a tool for the electric grid of the future

 Home solar electric systems are growing unstoppably. The future of electric power lies in harnessing solar energy. Solar panels are becomin...

 Home solar electric systems are growing unstoppably. The future of electric power lies in harnessing solar energy. Solar panels are becoming cheaper and more efficient, but there is one component in the system that is essential, but currently expensive and not available in sufficient quantities. This is the battery. 

Most home solar systems omit this component and use the existing grid to store the electricity generated but not used. This method is not cheap either, but the biggest drawback is that as solar systems expand, the electrical grid becomes unstable or the energy generated is lost. 

A reasonable solution is local energy storage. In this case, however, almost all local solar systems must include a battery to store the created electrical energy. However, current manufacturing capacity is mainly dedicated to the production of batteries for electric vehicles. And the demand for vehicle batteries is growing. 

The integration of vehicle batteries into the electricity grid is a suitable idea and has recently been moving towards practical implementation, but this dual use is best suited for emergency use. 

Technological advances are already promising a cheap and efficient solution for local electricity storage in the form of flow batteries, but this is still mainly a research area. 

But the solution is simple and straightforward. The continued and unstoppable spread of electric cars is generating a new kind of waste, a worn-out component in the form of used batteries. 

The capacity of vehicle batteries is steadily diminishing as they are used. In an electric car, if the capacity drops below 80 percent, it is worth replacing the battery with a new one to maintain the range of the vehicle. Although battery life is increasing with advances in technology, there is an inevitable increase in the quantity of batteries with reduced capacity that need to be remanufactured or recycled. This problem will become a major concern and a difficult task in the not too distant future, which will result in significant costs and a substantial amount of money in the price of a new battery. 

A battery with 80 percent capacity is a spent part in an electric vehicle, but could be a useful component in local solar systems. For houses, lower battery capacity is a negligible problem because it has much less impact on system efficiency. The utility value of a car is significantly reduced by a shorter range, whereas for a house only a slightly larger space is taken up by a lower capacity battery. 

As electric cars become more widespread, reduced capacity batteries will become available in large quantities. Instead of expensive refurbishment, these batteries can be used in installed solar systems for many years after installation. 

In an earlier thought, it has been suggested how the concept of the electricity grid could be transformed, how the current electricity grid could be revolutionized with the spread of solar systems. The solution described is based on the idea that if every household could store electricity and local distribution systems could manage the allocation of electricity, a new kind of electricity grid could be created, fundamentally different from the current one. Worn-out electric car batteries could become a vital component of the future electric grid, not as a problem, but as a cheap, recycled component of the future power network. 

This type of recycling should precede the expensive refurbishment of batteries, although there will be obvious profit disincentives from industry players interested in production and refurbishment. Reason should overcome profit maximization.

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