Heilbronn/Karlsruhe. The transformation of the energy sector and the transformation of motor transport go hand in hand. Tie-ups across the two sectors can play a major part in accelerating the transformation. High-capacity batteries have an increasingly important role as an element of a sustainable energy industry, both for large-scale storage in electricity grids and as a power source for electric vehicles. Audi and EnBW therefore aim to work together on battery storage solutions. The focus is on the use of retired batteries from Audi electric cars.
EnBW is working on the development of stationary storage facilities to serve as reservoirs for any surplus electricity from the group’s wind farms and photovoltaic arrays and support the grid. This means that wind turbines and photovoltaic installations no longer have to temporarily go off-grid if too much electricity is being generated: A step on the way to the optimum utilisation of renewable energy sources. The storage facilities will also be offered in future for use by municipal utilities, industry and operators of decentralised generating units.
First project before end of year
The heart of the storage system consists of retired batteries from Audi electric cars. Second-life batteries still have high capacity at the end of a vehicle’s life, which makes them suitable for use in stationary storage facilities. The collaboration with EnBW provides Audi with a sustainable second use for this valuable resource.
As a first step, the two partners are building a reference storage facility to test various use scenarios on the site of the EnBW combined heat and power plant in Heilbronn. Planning is already in full swing with construction due to begin this year. The reference unit will serve as a technology and process test bed for commercial systems to follow. Building on this first joint effort, the two companies plan to establish a long-term collaboration in second-life storage and implement a series of follow-up projects.
Combining sustainable mobility with energy supply security
“The joint project develops on the basic idea of combining security of supply with sustainability. That is the starting point for numerous initiatives at EnBW and also for large-scale investment spending,” said Armin Wauschkuhn, who is in charge of stationary battery system solutions at EnBW and managing director of Kraftwerksbatterie Heilbronn GmbH. “Our collaboration is a beneficial tie-up between the automotive and energy sectors where we can combine our respective expertise to unlock promising synergies.”
“Audi has the vision of emission-free mobility. Our e-car offensive is an important first step. But our aspirations go beyond automobiles themselves, which is why we are also driving the development of sustainable mobility with research and collaborations. The joint project with EnBW aims to show how batteries can be given a resource-efficient second life when their service in a road vehicle comes to an end. What’s more, we are already thinking ahead to what happens at the end of that second phase by promoting effective battery recycling,” said Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi.