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Technological cooperation to extend battery lifetimes
AI-based analysis of used lithium-ion batteries down to cell level
Resource conservation through safe second and third uses of batteries
Hamburg/Dresden - JT Energy Systems, a joint venture between Jungheinrich and Triathlon Holding 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."
The new test systems can be applied to all battery types and are therefore particularly versatile and scalable. "The artificial intelligence learns independently how to handle new battery types," explains Mandy Schipke. "We also get maximum flexibility from a patented measurement method with which we do not need any prior information about the battery. We can even classify batteries from accident vehicles where the battery management system can no longer be accessed and safely reuse them in the sense of a resource-saving recycling economy. Until now, such batteries always had to be disposed of completely."
The test data collected by the system is stored in a cloud. With each additional data set, NOVUM's artificial intelligence gains in information quality. The cloud connection will also enable new services in the future: For example, if the Jungheinrich service connects to the cloud, it can carry out battery analyses directly at the customer's premises and decide whether the battery needs to be replaced or not. All that is needed is a small, portable service device. It also makes it possible to determine the residual value of used batteries. "Our test systems drive the development towards more sustainability, recoverability and transparency in the handling of used batteries. We are very pleased that together with NOVUM we are making an important contribution to the success of the energy transition," explains Reinhild Kühne, Managing Director of JT Energy Systems.
About JT Energy Systems GmbH
JT Energy Systems was jointly founded in 2019 by Hamburg-based intralogistics specialist Jungheinrich and battery manufacturer Triathlon. The joint venture produces energy systems for electric vehicles with industrial applications. Based in Freiberg, Saxony, the company serves the rapidly growing demand for innovative and sustainable energy and battery systems. The company has particular expertise in the repair and reprocessing of used lithium-ion batteries.
About NOVUM engineering GmbH
NOVUM was founded in Dresden in 2014 and has already received several international awards for outstanding battery monitoring – including the Digital Energy Award, the Future Mobility Award and the title of best high-tech start-up in Europe. The company uses artificial intelligence to increase the profitability and efficiency of batteries in the areas of home and large-scale storage, electromobility and battery-powered devices. Thanks to the battery quick tests added in 2020, 2nd-life projects can now also be fully accompanied from battery diagnostics to profitable operation in large-scale battery storage. NOVUM technology is protected by over 20 patents, can work both online and offline, and can compensate for missing data with its own collection Methods.