The batteries they have an increasingly important role, since they are increasingly integrated into more devices. From smartphones to all kinds of machinery, they are essential for its operation, and they will be even more so in the medium term. But they will be different from those we have known until not long ago, due to the European Union ban of sell new gasoline and diesel cars from 2035.
Motorists, therefore, will gradually switch to electric cars, which will be very important for the battery sector. There will be a much greater demand for these, and in addition, renewable energy sources, which are going to be used more and more in systems for domestic consumption, will sometimes require the support of battery systems.
As a consequence of this, according to EU Startups, there will be more and more devices that depend on batteries to function. That is why it is increasingly important to develop new types of batteries capable of storing less energy in less space. Also that they take less time to load, and that they last longer without losing capacity. All this combined with models that use less and less raw materials, and that contribute more to the circular economy.
The basics of battery operation
In the design of a battery there are three main elements involved: a positive electrode, or cathode; another negative, or anode; and an electrolyte. The latter is perhaps the most important element of the battery. It is responsible for allowing the transfer of ions between the anode and the cathode. In this way, the battery can be charged and discharged.
In theory, making batteries with these three elements seems quite simple. But if what it is about is make batteries smaller, last longer, and are more sustainable, things get complicated. Fortunately, there are already several companies in Europe that are looking for solutions to these problems.
Among them is optimizing the overall energy density of batteries. But also its charging time, its level of sustainability, the time it lasts, its costs and the supply of materials. Several startups have already come up with solutions that are allowing them to innovate in the world of batteries, as we will see below.
Innovative startups in battery development in Europe
The eight startups dedicated to research and development of sustainable batteries in Europe are already creating more efficient, durable and affordable batteries. These batteries are also more sustainable than current ones. They are respectful with the environment, and also their purchase requires a smaller investment. They are the following:
1 – LeydenJar: As its name suggests, this company founded in 2016 is based in Leiden, and gives more importance than others to the anode of the batteries, since it has developed the most dense in terms of energy, based on pure silicon. The production of puto silicon anodes requires a plasma vapor sedimentation process.
This process makes it possible to achieve batteries with an energy density that leads to their integration in smartphones providing them with 70% more autonomy in 40% less space. In addition, it produces 85% less carbon dioxide than those produced with a conventional anode production system. This startup has managed to attract the attention of several investors, which allowed it to close a Series A financing round of 22 million euros in 2021.
2 – betteries: Berlin-based betteries was founded in 2018, and with solar power plants and second-hand electric car batteries, it is replacing gasoline-based generators in the southern half of the planet. In this way, it manages to collaborate in curbing climate change and creating economic opportunities and improving the quality of life of the communities in which it is installed.
Its batteries offer scalable carbon dioxide savings, in addition to supporting the circular economy by ensuring recycling towards the end of the second life of the mentioned batteries. It offers its customers a “batteries as a service” system, with which they receive sustainable battery systems for use in energy production outside of traditional systems, and for recharging connected to the conventional grid. It has recently raised 2.1 million euros to speed up the transition to renewables.
3 – Cylib: Since 2022, Cylib offers a battery recycling service that takes care of both its complete discharge and the recovery of all the components of a lithium battery. Based in Aachen, Cylib has developed an end-to-end battery recycling process that is characterized by its efficiency. Also for the recovery of the metals that are in the battery of an electric car in an environmentally friendly way.
4 – AC Biode: This Luxembourg startup, born in 2019, has developed a technology that can be used to upgrade any battery at low cost and using existing battery supply chains. AC Biode’s alternating current battery is more efficient and safer, as well as 30% smaller than conventional batteries.
The company is also working on the development of the first autonomous alternating current battery. To do this, he is using a unique component that he has called a “biode”, and which has the properties of an anode and a cathode at the same time.
5 – Geyser Batteries: This Finnish company, based in Helsinki, was born in 2018 and has been offering rugged, high-power energy storage solutions ever since. These are based on a proprietary technology of water-based electrolytes. Its products are characterized by their fast loading, their safety and their long duration.
All with a very low carbon footprint. Combining fast charging and a long life time, which allows it to reach more than one million charging cycles, this startup’s batteries are perfect for hybrid electric machinery. Especially for those used in applications that require a high load.
6 – InoBat: The battery developed by this Slovak company incorporates advanced and highly adaptable technology, which allows it to have modular components that allow the creation of scalable and customized battery systems. This battery system allows ultra-fast charging cycles, which lead to charging 85% of the battery in 20 minutes. It was born in 2019 and has already reached strategic agreements with two companies, and another commercial agreement with a company in the aviation sector.
7 – Lithium Werks: Reducing cobalt in batteries is a top concern for environmentally conscious battery manufacturers. Also because its supply is insufficient and for various reasons related to human rights.
Lithium Werks, based in the Netherlands since 2017, is responsible for the development of LFP batteries that are completely free of cobalt. They are safer, less toxic, and more energy efficient. Also, they have a significantly longer life cycle than mixed oxide batteries. It currently has more than 200 clients in 50 countries.
8 – LiNa Energy: Another approach in battery development is the shift from lithium as charging driver to partner. In doing so, this British company has created a technology that will make it possible to manufacture batteries with 30% less cost than using conventional lithium batteries. In addition, sodium ion batteries offer several advantages in terms of technical performance, safety, and cost over current technologies. It was founded in 2017.