South Korea’s largest auto maker Hyundai Motor Co. and No. 1 battery maker LG Chem Ltd. will recycle electric vehicle (EV) batteries as energy storage systems (ESS) for photovoltaic energy or EV rapid charging stations under the government’s regulatory sandbox.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday granted the green light to Hyundai Motor Co. as well as Hyundai Glovis, LG Chem, and KST Mobility to carry out projects to recycle used EV batteries to develop energy storage systems and create new business models.
Their projects were parts of nine projects that were given regulatory exemptions for new business models during the ministry’s fourth committee meeting on regulatory sandbox – a measure that allows unlicensed products and services to be tested on the market before being subject to existing laws. One project was given temporary permission.
Under the government’s regulatory sandbox, Hyundai Motor will demonstrate its ESS container technology using its own waste batteries. An ESS container is developed with reprocessed batteries recycled from EVs and offers bigger capacity than does regular ESS. Hyundai Motor’s ESS containers are made to store electricity produced by photovoltaics.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Glovis, LG Chem, and KST Mobility will together run EV battery rental business for EV taxies. Hyundai Glovis will rent out batteries to electric taxi company KST Mobility, and LG Chem will recycle the batteries that will be collected two to three years after their use to make energy storage systems for high-speed EV chargers.
Currently, regional governments across the country have more than 200 waste batteries in storage. Korea Energy Economics Institute projected about 80,000 batteries to be discharged by 2029.
If these projects are proved to be successful, new markets in the EV industry would be created, the ministry expected.
Currently, the recycling of waste batteries is banned in Korea. Under the country’s clean air conservation act, used batteries from subsidized electric vehicles that are due to be scrapped must be returned to regional governments. But the returned batteries are not allowed to be reused because of an absence of standards for performance or safety of recycled EV batteries and reuse value. Waste batteries have 70 to 80 percent efficiency, a ministry official said.
By Han Woo-ram, Seo Dong-cheol and Lee Eun-joo
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