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GM uses scrap Chevy Volt batteries to power data center

A bundle of five battery modules helps store energy from solar panels and wind turbines.

General Motors has put to use several retired Chevrolet Volt batteries at its Milford Proving Ground data center.

As the company prepares to ship the second-generation Volt, it has gathered several scrap batteries from the first-generation model. Five of the 16-17.1 kWh packs were connected in parallel to store energy from a 74-kilowatt solar array and two 2.0 kW wind turbines.

"Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains," said GM battery life-cycle manager Pablo Valencia. "This secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale."

The batteries are capable of powering the data center's administrative building for up to four hours in the event of a power outage, while excess energy is sent back into the grid.

"This system is ideal for commercial use because a business can derive full functionality from an existing battery while reducing upfront costs through this reuse," Valencia added.

The company will get even more power out of the 2016 Volt's 18.4 kWh battery modules, which provide an estimated electric driving range of approximately 50 miles.

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