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Monday February 06, 2023

OPSS Looks at 'Second-Life' Li-Ion Batteries in Energy Storage

'Second-life' lithium-ion batteries have generally the same hazard patterns as new counterparts, but at higher likelihood, according to a January 31 report by the UK Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS). Factors such as aging along with unknown stresses and abuses make the possibility of failures higher, writes the agency ( Thermal runaway and related fire, gas release and explosion are the primary worries.


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'Second-life' refers to a type of reuse of batteries or components aimed at better sustainability. The OPSS report focuses on consumer use in energy storage system, especially in applications such as photovoltaic energy generation, which the agency refers to broadly as domestic lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (DLiBESS). It summed up its findings:

"Extensive discussions with stakeholders have revealed two opposing views on second-life batteries: firstly, that a safety framework can be put in place to allow the use of second-life LiBs in DLiBESS, so long as the full history of the batteries in their first life applications is known and/or they can be tested effectively. A second, more radical view shared by some respondents is simply that the safety of such cells can never be guaranteed, and hence that second-life LiBs should not be employed under any circumstances in DLiBESS."
"Lastly, due to the fire and electrical hazards associated with LiBs, the availability of potentially untested second-life LiBs and the potential lack of knowledge (for example, with LiB ageing) and skills of consumers to mitigate the risk through testing and good system design, consideration should also be given to whether stricter requirements are needed for home-built ('DIY') DLiBESS that use second-life batteries."