It’s estimated that the global electric vehicle revolution could create 11 million tonnes of battery waste annually by 2040. To put that number into perspective, that’s an amount of waste that’s ten times the size of the great pyramid of Giza or it could fill London’s Wembley Stadium almost twenty times a year.*
The answer to this challenge could lie in the development of reusable and recyclable batteries.
To this end, the UK’s Aceleron is partnering with Eco Charger, an electric all terrain vehicle (ATVs) maker, to demonstrate how circular-economy batteries can help in the battle against e-waste.
Dr. Amrit Chandan, CEO and Co-Founder of Aceleron, says: “The decarbonisation of transport is critical, but we are currently solving one sustainability issue while ignoring another. Waste is the elephant in the room. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution and companies like Eco Charger are providing a blueprint to follow.”
For Eco Charger, it’s developed a bespoke lithium-ion battery for its electric quad-bikes. The solution is the same-size as traditional lead acid batteries, but four times as powerful and half the weight.
Jon Hourihan, Eco Charger’s CEO, adds: “By choice or by law all industries will soon have to decarbonise. Acereron’s batteries demonstrate that tailored engineering can provide low-carbon solutions across all e-mobility scenarios.”
Extending the Lifespan of Batteries by Remote Monitoring
Chandan founded Aceleron after he and co-founder Carlton Cummins dismantled hundreds of battery packs and realised that batteries are not designed to be maintained and recycled.
He tells Auto Futures: “Traditional lithium-ion batteries are welded or glued together, making the parts very difficult to replace. This means that if one component fails, the whole battery usually stops working and is thrown away. Our unique, long-life batteries, manufactured in the UK, are held together by compression so they can be easily disassembled, repaired and recycled.”
They also include intelligent management and communications, allowing Aceleron to remotely monitor the performance of cells and other battery components.
“Our battery applications contain built–in management systems and software that remotely monitors the health of the various battery components. By giving our distributers and installers an insight into the battery’s health, performance and cycle life, early repairs can be forecasted which extends the service life of our products.”
Chandan notes that the ability to service and maintain their batteries can extend the lifespan by as much as eight times compared to traditional packs, from 3 years to 25 years.
“The buy-back or take-back scheme is another example of our commitment to circularity. Once an Aceleron battery can no longer support the application, the owner can return the battery and we will provide a discount on a new Aceleron battery in exchange. We will then recover the working and reusable cells and repurpose those components into second-life storage,” adds Chandan.
As well as the UK, Aceleron is also working on clean energy projects in Africa. In Kenya its batteries are supporting off-grid home energy systems in a project backed by the Shell Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development. It is also working to convert their waste lithium-ion battery cells into repairable, upgradable and affordable long-cycle reusable battery packs.
This project is bringing cleaner power to more than 800 people in off-grid communities across Kenya and the surrounding area including Benin, Rwanda and Libya.
“We are working with the Shell Foundation in Kenya to introduce energy storage as a service (ESaaS) and deliver accessible clean energy to off-grid communities. ESaaS financial models effectively allow off-grid families to rent batteries, solar panels and appliances, such as fridges, TVs or lights, for less than $10 a month. This innovative approach is making traditionally costly off-grid energy offerings affordable.”
Chandan goes on to explain: “We are looking to replicate this model for commercial applications in our European and UK markets in the future. For example, by providing energy storage support to large data centres.“