On 22 April, a world-leading system for charging of vehicles was inaugurated at the hygiene and health company Essity’s business centre in Mölndal, Sweden.
An energy storage made by batteries from electric cars and charged by solar panels provides 78 charging stations for electric and hybrid cars, and 24 for electric bicycles, with climate-neutral electricity.
The solution at Essity has been developed through a collaboration between Volvo Cars, Essity, Stena Fastigheter and BatteryLoop, a company within Stena Recycling that is a leader in the reuse and recycling of batteries, primarily from the automotive industry.
”This is a very exciting collaboration where we together close the circle and create a sustainable cycle around cars powered by batteries. We give the batteries a second life in our smart energy storage system BLESS (BatteryLoop Energy Storage System) and the commercial life of batteries is ensured, while the burden on the environment is reduced. With BLESS, we contribute to achieving the goal of zero emissions and to secure the future for the environment and the next generation,” says Rasmus Bergström, MD of BatteryLoop.
When an electric vehicle, after many years in traffic, is at the end of its life cycle, the battery still has a large part of its capacity left, sufficient for use in the energy storage systems built by BatteryLoop. So instead of sending the batteries for recycling, they get a second life.
”Volvo Cars has great ambitions regarding circular economy and we put a lot of effort into finding new business models that make it possible to maximise the use of batteries throughout their life cycles. This project is in line with those ambitions and will teach us more about the life span of batteries and how they can be used outside of our cars,” says Susanne Hägglund who is responsible for the global aftermarket business at Volvo Cars.
For Essity, sustainable energy solutions are an important part of their sustainability work.
”In Essity’s climate work, more sustainable energy solutions are in focus, for example with renewable energy. It is a crucial factor in our work to achieve our scientifically based climate targets. In this case, it is about providing sustainable solutions for our employees, where the possibility of charging at the workplace can be crucial to take the step towards a more sustainable transport solution. Essity has also taken the step to restructure the company car fleet, where in practice only rechargeable vehicles are allowed,” says Axel Thegerström Edh, Sustainability Director at Essity.
When Stena Fastigheter, which owns and manages Essity’s property in Mölndal, was asked by Essity about a large number of charging stations for electric cars, the company wanted to find a sustainable solution. Stena Fastigheter has previously built a small facility in Gothenburg, Sweden together with Volvo Buses and BatteryLoop. With the investment at Essity, this can now be tested on a larger scale. Stena Fastigheter sees the collaboration as an important step along the way in offering their tenants a solution for a sustainable and environmentally friendly electricity supply.
”Because we can offer our customers the ability to charge their cars with solar energy, regardless of weather, around the clock, we contribute to even more sustainable travelling for Essity’s employees. With a battery storage of this scope, we can contribute to improved power regulation and energy storage in the building, which constitutes a stabilising function for an evolving electricity network. We are very much involved in and drive the development forward, which feels very satisfying,” says Agneta Kores, MD of Stena Fastigheter Göteborg.
BatteryLoop estimates that the demand for solutions such as the one currently in place at Essity will increase a lot in the coming years. This is partly due to the fact that the growth of electric vehicles means an increased need to handle the batteries in a sustainable and commercial way. There is also a strong demand in the market to be able to supplement electricity supply with renewable energy for, for example, properties and charging stations and to be able to meet peaks in energy demand. In addition, many see an advantage in that surpluses from the energy storage system can be sold and delivered to the electricity grid and thus generate revenue.