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HK Electric Shines in International Competition on Second Life for Retired EV Batteries

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HK Electric Shines in International Competition on Second Life for Retired EV Batteries

30 Jun 2017

Two HK Electric teams have won the first and third prizes in the Open Group of an international competition involving the use of batteries from retired electric vehicles (EVs).

Organised by the Environment Bureau, the competition on Second Life for Retired Batteries from Electric Vehicles was the first ever held in Hong Kong. The winning team's proposal on a hybrid battery energy storage system for an off-grid solar power system on Po Toi Island also won the Best "Viability" Award and the Best "Value & Impact" Award.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Wan Chi-tin, was beaming with pride when he noted that the two Company teams were the only local teams among the five finalists. "They have fully demonstrated their passion in promoting environmental protection and in using EVs to improve roadside air quality. The two teams came up with feasible solutions to recycle retired batteries which could further enhance the value of EVs," Mr. Wan said, after the presentation ceremony on 25 June 2017.

The winning proposal came from HK Electric's recent research into the installation of a solar power system on Po Toi Island to provide ancillary electricity to residents and to reduce the reliance on the island's diesel generators, which require a large amount of batteries to store energy generated by the solar power system.

Inspired by this, a team from the Projects Division of HK Electric, together with researchers from Department of Electrical Engineering of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, started the study on the application of retired EV batteries in the solar power storage system.

After repeated tests and studies for months, and coupled with the new designs implemented into the system, the team finally succeeded in combining the retired EV batteries and the system's new batteries to form a "Hybrid Battery Energy Storage System".

The system is expected to bring environmental benefits as it will reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing new lead acid batteries to replace those after the end of service life. In addition, the hybrid system will also enable HK Electric to build a solar system despite limited usable space and other constraints, and also preserve the scenery and landscape of Po Toi Island.

HK Electric won Government support to commission a feasibility study on introducing renewable energy to Po Toi Island at the end of 2015. Earlier this year, the Government further endorsed the Company to carry out an in-depth study that includes land and planning application and environmental impact to be completed in 2018-2019.

The second runner-up in the competition is from HK Electric's Transmission and Distribution Division which wanted to further enhance the stability of the transmission and distribution system. Addressing problems brought about by voltage dips and supply interruptions due to occasional faults in the system, the team explored ways to deploy retired EV batteries to reduce the impact of voltage dip and thus enhance the supply reliability of HK Electric.

The team put forward a suggestion to group retired EV batteries together -- with an advanced Battery Management System -- to form back-up energy storage similar to an "uninterruptible power supply". This will be installed in the switch-room of a building to protect sensitive equipment from voltage dips when supply is affected accidentally.

This ride-through solution will not only enhance the reliability of power supply, but is also environmentally friendly and can promote energy efficiency by fully utilising the total capacity of retired EV batteries. HK Electric plans to put the solution on trial by making use of about 130 retired EV batteries which are still in good condition (equivalent to the batteries of two EVs) to form a back-up energy storage and have it connected to the Company's distribution system to examine its viability.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Wan Chi-tin (middle front row), seen sharing in the joy of the teams that won the championship and the second runner-up, the Best "Viability" Award and Best "Value & Impact" Award in the International Competition.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Wan Chi-tin (middle front row), seen sharing in the joy of the teams that won the championship and the second runner-up, the Best "Viability" Award and Best "Value & Impact" Award in the International Competition.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Wan Chi-tin (middle front row), seen sharing in the joy of the teams that won the championship and the second runner-up, the Best "Viability" Award and Best "Value & Impact" Award in the International Competition.

Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Wan Chi-tin (middle front row), seen sharing in the joy of the teams that won the championship and the second runner-up, the Best "Viability" Award and Best "Value & Impact" Award in the International Competition.

Acting Secretary for the Environment, Ms. Christine Loh (third right), with all the Open group award winners, including the two HK Electric teams (first and second left and first and second right).

Acting Secretary for the Environment, Ms. Christine Loh (third right), with all the Open group award winners, including the two HK Electric teams (first and second left and first and second right).

The Project Division of HK Electric and PolyU researchers joined hands to study the application of retired EV batteries in the solar power storage system on Po Toi Island.

The Project Division of HK Electric and PolyU researchers joined hands to study the application of retired EV batteries in the solar power storage system on Po Toi Island.

Researchers from Department of Electrical Engineering of The Hong Kong PolyU conducted test on the proposed system and provided solid support to the viability of the proposal.

Researchers from Department of Electrical Engineering of The Hong Kong PolyU conducted test on the proposed system and provided solid support to the viability of the proposal.

The Transmission and Distribution Division of HK Electric formed a team to conduct research into incorporating retired EV batteries in the distribution system that will minimise the impact of voltage dips.

The Transmission and Distribution Division of HK Electric formed a team to conduct research into incorporating retired EV batteries in the distribution system that will minimise the impact of voltage dips.