Deakin gives used EV batteries new life, saves manufacturing costs

EV

Four Deakin University researchers’ business idea to power light vehicles with used EV batteries, potentially reducing India’s CO2 emissions and saving costs for EV manufacturers, has been catapulted to the international Grand Final of Climate Launchpad 2021. 

The idea centres on advanced artificial intelligence combined with smart, sustainable, repurposed, ready-to-use battery technologies. This would save end of life batteries from landfill and power light vehicles in a clean, affordable way. 

Named “SEE Labs” (or Smart Eco Energy Labs), the team consists of PhD students Ms Nanditha Sirigiri, Ms Sneha Malunavar, Mr Mojtaba Eftekharnia and early career researcher Dr Kalani Periyapperuma – all from the electromaterials group at Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM). 

The Deakin University team has qualified for the Grand Final, to be held on 27-30 October. They will compete against the world’s top 70 cleantech start-ups from 55 countries, with investors and industry leaders among the audience. 

“We are excited that our battery technologies, with their faster and smarter features, could support the third-largest market for light vehicles in the world – India. Their sales reached over two million units in 2020 alone,” the SEE Labs team said. 

“As researchers in the energy sector, we’re passionate about using our battery expertise in storage solutions to mitigate the rapidly increasing effects of climate change. Recently, the Indian government set a goal of clean energy accounting for 60 per cent of its current energy sources by 2030. Our product can help in reducing up to 15 per cent of the overall CO2 emissions, meaning a saving of 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 in India each year.” 

Deakin University’s BatTRI-Hub director Professor Maria Forsyth encouraged the project to grow their expertise and industry connections and support the translation of their research. 

“I am delighted that SEE Labs has achieved considerable success as they prepare for the Global Climate Launchpad finals,” Forsyth said. 

“It is a testament to their passion and collaboration with industry as next-generation battery research leaders.” 

The SEE Labs team’s battery technology will repurpose end-of-use lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicle suppliers. In so doing, the project can generate notable earnings for suppliers and savings for manufacturers. It is estimated EV suppliers will earn about $50 dollars per used battery unit, and light vehicle manufacturers will save about $700 dollars per vehicle when working with SEE Labs. 

“Our mission is not only to spin out technologies with the ability to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and make a big impact, but also to inspire other young researchers to pursue their passions,” the SEE Labs team said. 

“To them we say: take on any opportunity to develop your green ideas to achieve sustainable battery-led futures.” 

To watch the SEE Labs pitch at the Climate Launchpad Asia-Pacific Finals, click here.