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Using AI to reimagine used lithium batteries

Agriculture & Energy

How is one startup giving a second life to old li-ion battery cells?

Spotted: Almost all the components of lithium-ion batteries are recyclable, but it’s estimated that as little as five per cent of batteries around the world actually get recycled. Given that mining the metals used in batteries is energy-intensive and generates waste, it’s important to find ways to recover and re-purpose usable materials. This is the focus of startup VoltR.

The company specialises in the recovery and valorisation of lithium cells. The startup dismantles end-of-use batteries to isolate the cells, which are then tested using AI and re-assembled into new batteries in applications adapted to their residual performance. For example, cells from an e-bicycle battery may be repurposed into a less energy-consuming portable speaker battery.

The company also offers turnkey solutions for industrial batteries, ranging from the supply of their batteries to the collection and recovery of used cells. It also offers customised battery design, using recovered cells. All of this improves the circularity of battery manufacturing and reduces the virgin materials needed.

VoltR’s ambition is to structure a European second-of-life sector for lithium batteries to limit their environmental impact as much as possible. The company is currently focused on scaling and hopes to have four of its plants across four countries by 2030. It was recognised at this year’s ChangeNOW Coups de Cœur session.

Battery recycling is the subject of a number of recent innovations, including a cleaner method for recycling lithium-ion batteries and using second-life batteries for energy storage.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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