Co-author Emma Spath
In the midst of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, electric vehicle (EV) batteries were used in an unusual and innovative way—as energy storage. The earthquake caused a plant shutdown, but the following Tsunami waters damaged the back-up diesel generators responsible for cooling the plant’s systems. Many do not realize that as the situation in the nuclear reactors became increasingly dire and with no ability to generate power onsite, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) brought in fully-charged EV batteries to supply electricity, restart the pumps, and reestablish steady water circulation for cooling. Fukushima demonstrated to the world that EV batteries can not only be used for transportation, but also as mobile power sources able to resupply the power grid.