Future of the Environment

This Dutch football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

The Arena stadium building is pictured in this aerial shot of Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares

Green goals ... Amsterdam's Johan Cruijff Arena creates enough sustainable energy to support the national grid. Image: REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares

Rosamond Hutt
Senior Writer, Formative Content
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A massive energy storage system that includes new and used electric vehicle (EV) batteries has just been switched on at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff Arena, the home of Dutch football club Ajax.

It is capable of storing 3 megawatts of power – enough to charge 500,000 iPhones or supply 7,000 households in Amsterdam for one hour – and its makers say it’s Europe’s largest commercial energy storage system using EV batteries.

The system combines power conversion units and the equivalent of 148 new and used Nissan LEAF batteries, which store energy captured by 4,200 solar panels on the roof of the stadium and also from the grid.

Image: Nissan

Keeping the lights on

Its main purpose is to deliver back-up power to the stadium in case of outages or during heavy use. But as well as providing a reliable source of sustainable energy, it will also relieve pressure on the Dutch electricity grid during concerts and other big energy-consuming events.

And during periods of low demand, the stadium can contribute power to the grid.

Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff Arena. Image: Nissan

“The arena is assured of a considerable amount of power, even during an outage,” Henk van Raan, the Johan Cruijff Arena’s director of innovation, said in a statement. “As a result, the stadium will contribute to a stable Dutch energy grid.”

Second life for batteries

Carmakers are grappling with the problem of what to do with EV batteries when they pass their peak performance.

Lithium-ion batteries can continue to store electricity for years after they’re taken off the roads, and several carmakers including Nissan are working on projects to repurpose EV cells for home energy storage.

Nissan says that the new system at the stadium demonstrates that second-life batteries can play a role in “making the whole energy system more efficient and sustainable”.

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Related topics:
Future of the EnvironmentEnergy TransitionEuropean UnionCircular Economy
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