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GM finds new alt energy life for old Chevy Volt batteries

The advent of the lithium-ion battery promises to reinvent automobiles, but what to do with the batteries after their car life expires could very well create new innovations on the way people use and store power. General Motors researchers are working on ways to reuse these new batteries with a broad range of applications for their post-automobile life.

"What do we do with the batteries after that," says Kevin Kelly, manager of battery and electric vehicle hybrid communications for General Motors. "It could be everything from electric bikes to electricity storage for wind turbines."

GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with ABB Group. The company's North Carolina office in the Research Triangle that specializes in power systems will work with GM researchers to come up with second lives for the lithium-ion batteries. The scientists are considering all options, including using the batteries to help create better electric grid management.

The lithium-ion battery is commonly used in things like cell phones and laptops. Automakers are now using bigger and more powerful versions of these batteries to power the new breed of electric-hybrid automobiles, like the Chevrolet Volt. How to dispose or reuse the batteries, which often have toxic chemicals, has become a prominent issue in the electronic waste debate.

Source: Kevin Kelly, manager of battery and electric vehicle hybrid communications for General Motors
Writer: Jon Zemke
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