New life for batteries

End-of-life systems from Nissan Leafs are being used in a circular economy project across the Tasman.

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An industry-first circular economy project is being launched at the Nissan Casting Australia Plant (NCAP) in Victoria using recycled Leaf batteries to power part of the production facility.

Called Nissan Node, it will see a solar array installed at Nissan Casting Australia as well as new EV chargers.

In its most simplified form, Nissan Node will include the installation of a new battery energy-storage system made of nine repurposed first-generation Leaf batteries, which will be charged via the solar array.

Renewable energy will power part of the production of components for Nissan’s EV models and supply new chargers to recharge staff vehicles.

The project is estimated to reduce Nissan Casting Australia’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions by 259 tonnes while saving 128 megawatts of energy every year.

Managing director Peter Jones says: “This isn’t just an exciting project, but an important step into the future for end-of-life EV batteries. As an early pioneer of the EV, we can also demonstrate leadership in second-life battery initiatives.

“Already the Leaf comes with vehicle-to-grid technology from the factory, which will allow Australian EV owners to use their vehicles to power their homes and could be used to help stabilise the grid.

“But commercial circular-economy projects like this are a viable, sustainable and innovative solution for end-of-life EV batteries, too.”

Nissan’s NCAP has been a mainstay of the industry since its establishment in 1982. Today, more than 50 per cent of its operation is dedicated to making aluminium castings fitted to Nissan’s battery electric and hybrid vehicles sold globally.

In fact, every Leaf sold globally has components fitted that are made across the Tasman.

Similar projects are already under way around the world, including a trial with the East Japan Railway Company.

This uses second-life Leaf batteries to power railway crossings, and 4R Energy Corp in Japan is developing technology and infrastructure to recycle, resell and reuse the batteries in Nissan EVs as power-storage solutions.

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