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DB and Kia turn used electric car batteries into powerful energy storage units: How are the companies contributing to green electricity?

DB and Kia turn used electric car batteries into powerful energy storage units: How are the companies contributing to green electricity?
photo: Deutsche Bahn/DB and Kia turn used electric car batteries into powerful energy storage units: How are the companies contributing to green electricity?
14 / 09 / 2022

With a strategic partnership, Korean carmaker Kia and Deutsche Bahn (DB) are driving forward the circular economy in electromobility. The idea: several used lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles are bundled together to form a high-performance energy storage system for green electricity.

The areas of application for these so-called second-life battery storage units are diverse and flexible: For example, they store surplus electricity from photovoltaic systems or can be used in DB's maintenance and provisioning plants to supply electricity throughout the day. It reduces the cost of electricity peaks. The process from procuring used batteries to manufacturing is handled by encore, a corporate startup of the DB Bahnbau Group.

Berthold Huber, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn: "Saving electricity is the order of the day. Our new second-life battery storage systems offer a solution for this that is also sustainable. It is attractive for all industries."

From 2023, encore will launch sales and series production of several hundred electricity storage units. A first pilot project has been in operation on the EUREF campus in Berlin since July 2022. Further storage facilities will be built at various DB locations, including the ICE plant in Leipzig, the digital test center in Scheibenberg (Saxony), and the train station in Zorneding in Bavaria.

In principle, all companies with high energy demand and focusing on renewable energies can benefit from second-life storage systems.

Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe: "As one of the leading brands for electric mobility in Europe, Kia will have expanded its global electric car portfolio to 14 models by 2027. At the same time, we are investing in sustainable solutions also for batteries after their first life in the vehicle. The pioneering partnership between Kia and DB shows that together we regard batteries as valuable resources in terms of a sustainable circular economy."

encore receives the used batteries directly from Kia dealers, checks them, and subjects them to a safety and quality analysis. Battery modules with sufficient residual capacity become second-life battery storage units, while unusable batteries are sent to encore for professional recycling.

The Europe-wide transport of batteries and new energy storage units is mainly carried out by the logistics subsidiary DB Schenker, as well as DB Cargo. Due to the strict legal regulations for the transport and storage of battery storage units, the proper transportation is particularly complex, such as the labeling and temperature regulation for the journeys.

Christian Moser, Global Solution Manager E-Mobility at DB Schenker, says: "Batteries are the backbone of the ongoing electrification of mobility worldwide. encore has developed an exciting solution to give used batteries a second life. We are pleased to support this innovative project with our service specifically geared to battery logistics."

About DB Bahnbau Group and encore | DB:

DB Bahnbau Group operates nationwide as an infrastructure service provider, partner, and consultant. With around 3,500 employees and 400 maintenance vehicles, it provides planning, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, in particular, rail infrastructure and rail transport services. The DB Bahnbau Group also focuses on recycling and alternative energy systems.

encore | DB gives used batteries from electromobility a second life as energy storage units and orchestrates the entire process in close exchange with its partners, from the procurement of used batteries to the production of second-life battery storage units.

The second-life battery storage units are also part of the "Das ist grün." portfolio of measures. With more than 160 green measures, Deutsche Bahn is committed to climate, nature, resource, and noise protection, as well as social responsibility.


Source: Deutsche Bahn