Enel X lithium-ion battery innovation projects
In addition to making an important contribution to the decarbonization of consumption, electric mobility represents an opportunity to develop the Italian industry for the production, development and reuse of batteries. Through the technologies developed by Enel X, the projects presented under the second IPCEI represent our contribution to improving the sustainability and efficiency of storage systems and their integration into the power grid, encouraging a circular economy model that is in keeping with the aims of the Green Deal.
CEO of Enel X
Enel X was one of the first companies to focus on the enormous potential that the growth in the use of storage systems, combining technology, environmental sustainability and efficiency, represents.
CEO of Enel X
Enel X to accelerate energy transition towards a circular economy
The first project involves High Power Charging for electric vehicles. Specifically, a high power battery charger is a technology that aims to give an electric vehicle, or EV, the energy needed for several hundred kilometers with a charging time of just minutes. The Enel X project is focused on developing 350kW charging with integrated battery storage, which will be also able to supply services to the grid (as a comparison, a home charger typically deliver electricity at 7kW, while ultra-fast chargers are usually beyond 150kW). This project will use so-called second-life batteries for some pilot sites, a move that supports sustainability and the principles that lie behind circular economy approach.
The issue of what to do with spent vehicle batteries is coming to the fore as the popularity of EVs soars. Powering a car or truck is tough on the battery, which faces extreme operating temperatures, hundreds of partial cycles a year, and varying discharge rates, all of which conspire to shorten its useful life.
It is estimated that by 2030 some 60,000 tons/year of vehicle batteries will need to be disposed of in Italy alone. However, while no longer suitable for use in a vehicle, second-life batteries can still be employed in less-demanding applications, such as stationary energy storage.
The project also aims to support the decarbonization of transport through the greater penetration of e-mobility, and with it of renewables, by facilitating the integration of electric vehicles into the grid. It will also minimize the time it takes to set up charging stations, and take advantage of the falling price of energy storage by improving the economics performance of the charging sites involved.
Grid-scale power storage and recycling batteries
IPCEI and the European Battery Alliance
Enel X in 2019 took part in the first IPCEI on batteries, a sector that is “a strategic imperative for Europe,” according to the Commission, which in a sign of the importance of the sector in 2017 set up the European Battery Alliance, or EBA250. The first IPCEI saw the participation of 17 companies; the second one, in which Member States will provide up to 2.9 billion euro in funding – a sum expected to unlock more than three times as much in private-sector investment – will involve 42 companies, including Enel X.
The move helps lay the foundations for a new, sustainable and competitive battery industry that is able to support the development and growth of e-mobility, and shows that Enel X is at the forefront of energy circularity and the energy transition.