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CPS Energy, OCI Solar Power join forces with Hyundai Motor Group to explore power storage innovations

Photo courtesy of OCI Solar Power / From left to right: Jae Hyuk Oh, VP of Energy Business Development Group at Hyndai Motors, Fred Bonewell, Chief Operating Officer at CPS Energy, Charles Kim, President and CEO at OCI Solar Power.

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — CPS Energy, Hyundai Motor Group and OCI Solar Power will be working together to explore more ways to use the juice from electric vehicle batteries.

The three companies signed an official agreement Tuesday morning to conduct tests on recycled electric vehicle batteries to be used in power storage.

“Today, we are taking a very important step in advancing our technology in regards to battery storage, thanks to this new collaboration with OCI Solar Power and the Hyundai Motor Group,” said Fred Bonewell, Chief Operating Officer of CPS Energy. “Evaluating these innovative technologies is key to discovering the next firming capacity that would be needed to replace fossil fuels. The fact that Hyundai Motor chose the Alamo City to test this storage project speaks volumes to San Antonio’s commitment to reducing emissions through innovative technology.”

Lithium-ion batteries can be used in electric vehicles for 7 to 10 years before losing peak efficiency, but OCI Solar Power says they can be used for another five years or more in a power storage application. OCI Solar Power is the supplier of solar power for CPS Energy.

The discussion on the plans to test the second-use batteries came together before the pandemic, CPS Sr. Director of Business and Economic Development Jonathan Tijerina said, but the three groups have been able to re-engage in the talks and today’s agreement is the first step in making official plans to conduct the tests.

Tijerina said that Hyundai Motors will provide the second-use batteries, CPS will operate the energy storage facility that will house the tests and OCI will work as the integrator between the two groups with the ultimate goal to understand what the second-life performance in the recycled batteries will look like in terms of reliability to assist in utility stability during times of peak winter and summer weather conditions. The testing is expected to take three to five years.

“CPS Energy has been a visionary leader for solar projects in Texas. And now, nearly 10 years after we began developing solar and storage solutions in Texas, we are stepping up our green-energy game. This new collaboration … will make us one of the first to study the performance and cost benefits of redeploying EV batteries,” said Charles Kim, CEO & President of OCI Solar Power. “We’re proud to have South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Group choose CPS Energy and San Antonio for this project. It speaks to all of our cooperation and commitment to innovation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in the Alamo City.”


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