Joint efforts for prolonged battery life
JT Energy Systems, the joint venture between Jungheinrich and Triathlon Batterien GmbH, has acquired a stake in the Dresden-based AI company and battery specialist NOVUM. As part of their close technological cooperation, the partners are jointly extending the service life of lithium-ion batteries. The use of AI-based analysis tools makes used vehicle batteries fit for their second and third lifetimes and thus makes an important contribution to more sustainability.
“Lithium-ion batteries often last longer than the vehicles in which they are used,” says Reinhild Kühne, managing director of JT Energy Systems. “In the future, we will be in an even better position to exploit the battery’s full potential in order to reuse it meaningfully in a second and third life.” For this purpose, Novum’s artificial intelligence-based test systems precisely analyse the condition of built lithium-ion batteries down to the cell level. “We know exactly how high the remaining capacity of a battery is after only 90 seconds,” explains Mandy Schipke, managing director of NOVUM. “This allows us to calculate how long the respective battery can still be used in different application scenarios. Experience has shown that even in many previously discarded batteries there are still cells that are good and safe for further use.”
For this purpose, after an initial examination at module level, which provides information about the general battery condition, another test is carried out at cell level. Based on this analysis, the cells are categorised into quality classes according to their condition. Fully intact cells can be reassembled into vehicle batteries that are offered as low-cost used batteries for renewed use in the vehicle. Less efficient cells are used in stationary batteries and large-scale storage systems. In the end, only a very small proportion of used cells that have already reached their actual end of life and can no longer be used for any other purpose need to be recycled.
“This additional station in the life cycle makes lithium-ion batteries much more sustainable and ecological overall,” Reinhild Kühne emphasises. “NOVUM’s globally unique expertise in this area was one of the key reasons for our strategic investment in the experienced AI company.” The contract for the investment was signed in December 2021. In the future, the partners would like to further reduce CO2 emissions in the production and recycling of lithium-ion batteries through co-development. “The cooperation with JT Energy Systems offers us a unique field of application for optimising our product,” explains Mandy Schipke. “At the same time, JT Energy Systems also benefits from the jointly acquired knowledge. As a cooperation partner, we can already set new standards in the battery industry today.”