Batteries are the foremost method of storing energy. But many companies producing batteries are focused on using today's technology to make them for use today; little thought is put into what happens to them when they've reached the end of their lifespans.
That's where Aceleron, a UK startup that claims to have designed the world’s "most sustainable" lithium-ion battery, comes in.
The company’s batteries are designed around circular economy principles, so they can be reused and upgraded over time.
"Currently batteries are not designed to be recycled," said Aceleron CEO Dr Amrit Chandan.
"They're very difficult to take apart and conventional state-of-the-art recycling is not very efficient for recovery of the lithium materials. This means that the process is costly and ultimately wasteful, which is a global challenge that needs to be solved quickly".
To tackle this problem, Aceleron redesigned the typical assembly method, removing all permanently bonded and fixed elements.
Unlocking the potential of energy storage
"We made the product using a compression technology that we patented and created ourselves, that allows you to easily assemble and disassemble the product," explained company CTO Carlton Cummins.
“Which means that the internals can be serviced and maintained or upgraded over time,” adds Chandan. “So we can keep a battery in service for much longer, reducing the lifetime cost as well as the waste that's generated".
Aceleron has attracted the attention of investors. It received support from the UK government’s start-up funding arm and was listed by the World Economic Forum as one of five innovators making electric vehicle batteries more sustainable.
While based in the UK, the company has global ambitions, it recently secured an investment deal to accelerate battery innovation in Africa.
"With battery technology continually improving over the years, why would people want to be stuck with today's technology in 10, 15 years' time?" said Cummins.
"By making a battery designed to enable upgrade, we have unlocked the potential for energy storage to improve as well."
To see the full interview, watch the video in the media player above.