With the rapid development of electric vehicles, the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of retired lithium batteries (LIBs) is becoming a serious issue. Echelon utilization of the retired LIBs is a promising scheme because of its considerable potential for generating economic and environmental value. The most outstanding technical challenge of echelon utilization is how to sort and regroup the large-scale retired LIBs efficiently and accurately. In this paper, the status and challenges of echelon utilization for the retired LIBs are reviewed. First, the criteria, policies, regulations, markets, costs, and values of echelon utilization are summarized comprehensively to illustrate its potential and expose existing problems and pain points. Second, the key technologies related to large-scale echelon utilization of LIBs are detailed, valuable opinions and technical routes are presented for the selection and rapid estimation of sorting indices, the classification and regrouping algorithm, evaluation of the sorting results, and other aspects. In particular, a multilevel and multidimensional fast sorting method is proposed for large-scale echelon utilization of retired LIBs that considers different scenario constraints. Valuable solutions to the key technical problems are given, such as predicting the characteristics of retired LIBs with in-service data and building a fast sorting model from a small number of samples to sort large quantities of LIBs. Finally, the technological prospects of echelon utilization are discussed. Big data and artificial intelligence can be used to promote further development and application of echelon utilization, which may eventually be applied to managing the whole life cycle of LIBs.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Vol. 146

Xin Lai, Yunfeng Huang, Cong Deng, Huanghui Gu, Xuebing Han, Yuejiu Zheng, Minggao Ouyang

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