The Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) at RWTH Aachen University and the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW) want to find out whether replaceable batteries can reduce the consumption of resources in electromobility.
To this end, they work together in the “Circulation Batteries” project. Money for this comes from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.
Directional decision could limit resource consumption of electromobility
There is a broad consensus that scarce resources will be a critical factor for the expansion of electromobility. “It is therefore highly relevant to use resources efficiently, to keep components in the system for a long time and to return the raw materials to the cycle after use through recycling,” says energy expert Jan Wiesenthal from the IÖW.
Due to the rapid growth of the sector, he is pushing for a political and economic decision that includes this topic.
Today, fully integrated batteries are standard in electromobility
Projects for exchangeable batteries have repeatedly made headlines in the past. The idea: an empty battery can be exchanged for a full one in just a few seconds. The question of loading times is therefore obsolete. But for this there would have to be standardized, easily replaceable batteries.
Currently, however, e-cars are almost always equipped with fully integrated batteries. Either your own wall boxes or public charging stations are required for charging. This requires space in public space. In addition, the power grid is challenged by simultaneous and rapid charging at certain points.
The research team now wants to investigate whether the exchangeable batteries would also bring advantages for the resource efficiency of e-mobility. Their service life could be increased through controlled and more gentle charging, which is one argument in favor of the exchangeable batteries. In addition, the service life of the vehicles can be decoupled from that of the battery.
But even here there are still open questions. It is unclear, for example, how many exchangeable batteries would have to be in circulation for a functioning system. In total, that should be more than e-cars are on the road. In addition, requirements for vehicle construction and standardization would have to be defined.
Research project should create a basis for discussion about replaceable batteries
A scientific basis is needed for a well-founded decision on direction. The researchers want to investigate what a resource cycle in a removable battery system could look like. Possible framework conditions, social aspects as well as technical and economic feasibility are also in focus. To this end, the researchers want to work together with actors from the field.
This is what makes it possible in the first place to discuss exchangeable batteries as an alternative to fully integrated batteries.