{{ content.logo.text }}

  • {{searchSuggestions.title}}

Second Life: Re-powering Melilla with electric vehicle batteries


Using recycled tires to produce footwear, turning wastewater into fertilizer and making clothing out of oceanic waste are just some of the many innovations arising from circular economy initiatives. In order to reach desired sustainable growth, more and more corporations are implementing circular business models. Through this method, companies reduce material use, redesign products to be less resource-intensive, extend the lifetime of assets and products and recapture waste as a resource for manufacturing.

Now, thinking at a larger scale, imagine being able to power entire cities with reused materials. It may sound utopian, but at Enel we are giving batteries a second life with our latest project.

In an effort to enhance grid stability with the energy stored in disused batteries from Nissan electric vehicles, Enel has set into motion its new project: Second Life.


A pioneering project

Open innovation and collaboration are essential to success. The Second Life project was created and implemented thanks to synergies with the automotive brand Nissan and Loccioni, an Italian company that develops storage systems and integrators. The solution developed by EGP in collaboration with Nissan involves reusing 30 brand new and 48 disused electric vehicle batteries connecting them together to provide a total available charge of up to 4 MW, with a maximum accumulated energy of 1.7 MWh. The project has now been implemented at a conventional power plant in Melilla, Spain, which is operated by Enel’s Spanish subsidiary, Endesa.

Pablo Fontela Martinez, Innovation Project Manager at Endesa, explained how “now that the system is in commercial operation, we will keep on monitoring how the batteries behave.” The resulting data will allow more business lines within the Group to leverage reused electric vehicle batteries to support the energy transition.

We have strongly believed in this project since day one,” Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer, declared. “We got important partners onboard throughout, counting on the relentless dedication of our colleagues and on a real, operating plant where we could implement storage solutions giving batteries a second life.”


How does it work? Second Life was born from a simple idea: once batteries have exhausted their useful life within electric vehicles, they can be extracted and assembled into large stationary storage systems. In order to avoid load-shedding events, improve the reliability of the grid and secure the continuity of network service for the local population, these storage systems are integrated into the power plant. In addition to its contribution to circular economy, the project adds an innovative component because it does not require batteries to be dismantled down to cell level prior to being deployed, thereby enhancing safety while reducing costs.

As mentioned by Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, “The development of storage technology is key if we want to foster greater renewable penetration in our energy systems, so we can truly shape the power generation of the future.”

Success behind a second life

“At Nissan, we believe the future is electrified and through this collaboration, we can make the future smarter and more efficient,” affirmed Soufiane El Khomri, Energy Business Unit Director at Nissan. He was echoed by Matteo Marchetti, Project Manager at Loccioni, who stated, “the challenge of the Second Life project gave us the opportunity to combine our expertise in accumulating energy and testing auto components.”

Due to its impact, Second Life has already received major recognition. In 2020, the project won the Best Circular Economy Practice award through the BASF – Sustainability Excellence Club (Club de Excelencia En Sostenibilidad), in the large business category.

With the potential to positively affect Melilla’s 90,000 inhabitants, Second Life allows us to create sustainable value for the population and also to increase the reliability of the entire energy grid.


Betting on a circular future

Second Life is a huge accomplishment for us at Enel. As Ciorra noted, “What would have been considered impossible only a few years ago, has now become possible – it has become a reality.” Through projects like these, Enel is ensuring that its innovation methodology works hand-in-hand with sustainable progress to ultimately change the world and boost the circular economy within the energy industry.