Two Melbourne University students have developed new technology that is set to make electric cars even greener and homes more solar friendly.
Video: Relectrify ARENA Showcase
Valentin Muenzel and Daniel Rowley, who founded startup, Relectrify,have found a way to reuse batteries that were once consigned to the scrapheap.
More electric vehicles are hitting roads around the world each year but the challenge has been how to use the batteries after they reach their use-by date – usually within five to 10 years.
When a battery cannot continue powering an electric car it can still have as much as 80 per cent of its original charge left.
Relectrify has developed a “plug and play” system that brings new life to old lithium-ion batteries.
When no longer useful in cars, they still have about 2,000 cycles left and can be reused in a solar home for about six or seven years.
The company has received an investment of A$750,000 from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a partnership between ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. That investment means Relectrify can expand production and rollout its second-life battery technology to the market.
Relectrify’s advanced battery control algorithm increases the capability and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries, making them more affordable and sustainable.
Battery packs have many individual batteries and its longevity is limited by the weakest one.
Relectrify’s electronics manage the batteries individually, which means if any one starts to lose capacity it doesn’t limit the other batteries.
The electronic system can also be plugged onto the old electric and hybrid car batteries, making them appropriate for other uses that do not require such high-performance batteries.