TES was established in 2005 and has evolved to become a global leader in providing Information Technology (IT) Lifecycle Services, offering custom solutions that help customers manage the commissioning, deployment, and retirement of IT assets securely and sustainably.
Headquartered in Singapore TES has grown to over 1,700 employees working across 22 countries. Services include environmentally compliant recycling, asset recovery, managed deployment, onsite data destruction, and electronic parts harvesting.
TES is able to ‘close the loop’, enabling customers to transition to a circular economy by extending the life of assets with reuse/repair and where this is not possible, ensuring that materials are recovered and recycled to generate new products. We do this to ensure we are sustaining tomorrow.
Aurex: Hi Joe, thank you for joining us. First, can you give us an introduction to yourself and your role at TES?
Joe: Thanks for your time. I have been based in Sydney for the past 35 years and have been very fortunate to be part of emerging industries throughout my time. I actually started my career in recruitment. With over 15 years’ experience with companies like Downer EDI, Eltek, SMA, Verdia, and SembCorp I’ve had exposure to EPC, manufacturing, and project development within the renewables industry. I’ve coupled my engineering qualifications with a sales and business development focus.
I joined TES in August 2020 as the Business Lead for the Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) business for Oceania. I am very excited about what we are doing with battery recycling and second-life storage solutions.
Recently TES announced the opening of two new battery recycling facilities – TES B, our flagship integrated battery recycling and repurposing facility in Singapore, and Recupyl, a mechanical battery recycling plant in Grenoble, France. The approximately $25 million investment positions TES as a leader in the lithium battery recycling market and the growing second life battery space.
My role and responsibility are to establish our market offer for the use of retired batteries from electric vehicles and utilise them in second-life applications such as energy storage solutions within the commercial and utility sector. These second life BESS solutions allow for improved financial metrics compared to first life solutions. We are targeting a 50% cost reduction from conventional battery projects thus allowing for more compelling business cases for battery storage.
Aurex: Second life sounds interesting, what does that actually mean in relation to retired electric vehicle batteries?
Joe: When the battery from an electric vehicle reaches the end of its first life, manufacturers have a few options: they can dispose of it, recycle the valuable metals, or reuse it. Repurposing the battery is usually a more commercially appealing proposition over recycling and recovering the battery metals. TES has developed a unique process to test and warrant these retired batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries in EV applications degrade within the first 5 years of operation and are designed for approximately 10 years. However, these batteries can live a second life, even when they no longer meet EV performance standards, which typically include maintaining 80 percent of total usable capacity. As such, we evaluate these batteries and then see if they are able to perform sufficiently to serve less-demanding applications, such as stationary energy-storage services, thus providing a second life.
Aurex: What applications can second life BESS be used for?
Joe: Well it depends on the battery cycling (charging and discharging) requirements. However, to date the most suitable applications for second life energy storage projects would be: deferring transmission and distribution investments, providing reserve energy capacity to maintain a utility’s power reliability, and, lastly, taking advantage of power-arbitrage opportunities by storing renewable power for use during periods of scarcity, thus providing greater grid flexibility and firming to the local grid.
At TES, we are using these second-life batteries and combining them with plug-and-play, turnkey, containerised solutions. This could contain the power conversion system, BMS (battery management system), lithium battery, fire suppression, and high voltage AC power. They are modular in design and can be scaled from 300kWh up to multi MW configurations.
Singapore, TES B facility – 1MW second life BESS system in a 40ft container
Aurex: Have you installed any of these second life BESS systems?
Joe: Our TES B facility in Singapore has recently commissioned a renewable storage project. This comprised of a 350kW solar PV system coupled with a second life 1MW lithium-ion battery system. This system incorporates a full turnkey solution with a 40ft container allowing benefits of peak shaving and deferment in infrastructure spending. Further to that the BESS system could also provide emergency backup power to critical services in the event of a power failure.
We are also in the process of putting a second life lithium-ion battery system at our NSW, Villawood facility.
Aurex: What are your thoughts about the storage industry?
Joe: If we look back at the solar industry for commercial projects, initially the cost of technology was quite high with paybacks of 8-10 years. Over time with efficiencies in technology and government rebates, commercial projects in Oceania have been on the rise with paybacks of about 4-6 years. Similarly, with BESS commercial projects, the cost of battery technology currently attracts lengthy paybacks. However, at TES we are targeting to introduce low costs of energy storage solutions making the business case for second-life applications a lot more appealing shaving off years in the payback.
Aurex: What message would you like to leave with our readers?
Joe: The goal is: sustaining tomorrow by adapting today. With the first generation of solar systems approaching the end of life, the issue of recycling and responsibly disposing of PV panels and batteries are fast becoming a major consideration for the industry. If we can work together and outline the recycling options currently available for PV modules and batteries and the best practices for the responsible disposal of expired solar components, that would be considered a positive way forward. New, emerging solutions such as second life BESS systems allow us to achieve these goals whilst pushing for a circular economy.