Nissan Brazil and the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) have signed a memorandum of intent to test solutions and future applications for used EV batteries.

The event to formalize the agreement was held at the UFSC Photovoltaic Laboratory (Center for Research and Training in Solar Energy) in the city of Florianópolis. Attending the event were the president of Nissan Brazil, Marco Silva; the provost for research at the institution, professor Sebastião Roberto Soares; and professor Ricardo Rüther, coordinator of the UFSC Photovoltaic Laboratory.

Future agreements (following the memorandum of intent) will allow Nissan and the UFSC research group to test second-life applications for batteries from EVs. Nissan will initially supply the UFSC with six Nissan LEAF batteries, which were used in taxis in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as part of a special company project from 2012 to 2016.

“Worldwide, Nissan has been forming partnerships with the purpose of integrating electric vehicles with society and promoting electric mobility,” said Silva. “Upon removal, the batteries retain a high charging and supply capacity. In Brazil, joint efforts alongside researchers of the Federal University of Santa Catarina will be essential for testing the batteries’ full potential.”

One of the main lines of research for this partnership is to study the potential of EV batteries in energy storage systems – which Nissan calls Xstorage Buildings worldwide – to generate and collect power independently from the conventional grid. Considering the average residential electricity consumption in Brazil (170kWh/month; 5.66kWh/day), stored energy in a single battery could keep a household running for approximately three days.

Solar power storage is another research line that will be tested. One of the first applications being planned by researchers will be installed onto the building of the UFSC Photovoltaic Laboratory itself. The electricity generated throughout the day via solar panels on the laboratory’s rooftops will be stored in a set of Nissan LEAF batteries. Then, the stored energy can be used during the night, when electrical fees are most expensive.

“This partnership with Nissan is very important for our laboratory because it will allow us to unite the two pillars of our research, which are electric mobility and energy storage,” said Rüther. “We are excited about the wide array of possibilities to repurpose these batteries.”

Last year, the group developed a bus exclusively powered by solar energy, which was used daily to transport researchers and students.

The alternative deployment of spent Nissan LEAF batteries is already underway in some parts of the world. This year in June, Nissan inaugurated Europe’s biggest energy storage system in Holland’s Johan Cruyff Arena. Powered by 148 Nissan LEAF batteries, the system operates independently from the conventional power grid. In Japan, Nissan and its 4R Energy Corporation affiliate joined with the city of Namie, in the northeast of the country, to install light posts powered by a combination of solar panels with batteries that were used in LEAF vehicles.

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