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Tom joined a startup at the age of 68

After nearly 40 years in the automotive industry, Tom Haarstad took a leap to Hagal and the world of batteries. It was the opportunity to prolong the life of new and used batteries that ignited a new flame.

Tom developed a keen interest in the automotive industry development during his long career with Bertel O. Steen, where he was in charge of car brands such as, Daihatsu, Kia, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. When he heard about Hagal´s ambitions of developing new battery technology enabling up to 30 percent longer life for EV batteries, he was ready for a career move.

Employee number 3

Tom came to Hagal as employee number three in the autumn of 2020, and currently holds the role Chief Procurement Officer.  As we approach 2021, the company counts 28 rebels, and can look back at an eventful year.

–Joining a startup at the age of 68 might not be an option for everyone, but for me, this was a chance to explore the opportunities that new battery technology offers the automotive industry. There is so much happening in this field, so for me, working in a company like Hagal with a technology that will be a key enabler for electrification, feels meaningful and challenging, he says.

–The work environment in Hagal is inspiring. We have a team consisting of seven nationalities with different skillsets and strong expertise, working side by side. We have an open culture and everyone gives full throttle, he points out.

Norway, a test lab for the automotive industry 

Electrical vehicle sales smashed records in 2020 with a global growth of 43 percent. More than 10 million EVs hit the roads, and we can expect an annual sales growth of 30 percent and 145 million EVs globally by 2030.

–The electrification of the automotive industry breeds an enormous amount of important sustainability initiatives, from the car manufacturers and other companies introducing new technologies and ways of solving challenges, Tom explains.

According to Reuters, car manufacturers will be investing 515 billion US dollars in the development of new EV technology and production in the years to come.

–Norway’s large share of EVs, combined with the opportunity to charge our cars with electricity from 100 percent renewable energy sources, gives us major advantages. As a small and mature market with big climatic variations and strong consumer rights, we have become a test market for the car manufacturers. We are a mini market for innovation and can embrace new technology at an early stage. This is especially shown through the Chinese car manufacturers using Norway as their first export market, Tom explains.

–Developing the next generation battery management system in Norway, will give Hagal credibility. As the cars get scrapped, we will have access to a huge amount of used batteries that the Rebel technology can use for stationary energy storage.

Needed technology

The accelerated electrification of the transport sector pushes the car manufacturers to do everything they can to build a sustainable foundation for the future. Emission free cars, emission reduction in car manufacturing and delivery chains, development of batteries with a longer lifespan and recycling facilities, are among the initiatives they have inaugurated to be the vanguard of the sustainability race.

–There is less talk about the opportunities for second-life batteries, which has a massive potential. The UN is strengthening the requirements for sustainable and safe handling of batteries throughout the life cycle, including used batteries. The need to test battery modules in a safe way, without big interventions is growing, and Hagal will be ready with our technology, Tom emphasizes.

Media Contact:

Mona Øverby
Head of Marketing, Communication and Sustainability
Email : mona.overby@hagal.com
M : + 47 408 57 887

Lower energy prices with second life batteries

The green shift means electrification, but the power grid isn´t dimensioned for the transition. Used EV batteries can be the solution.

Weather dependent energy sources, outdated infrastructure and bottlenecks in the power grid are causing heavy fluctuations in the electricity prices and local differences in power access. Climate change creating more extreme weather, rapid electrification and high thermal costs are challenging the power grid.

 – Oil, energy and coal currently make up around 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption. To reach the goal of cutting emission by at least 50 percent by 2030, 75.000 TWh energy needs to be transferred to electrical power within eight years. For the UK this corresponds to a 21 times increase in the total power consumption annually. Such a massive upgrade of the power grid capacity, in addition to increased production primarily from sun and wind, requires enormous investments and will take too long. If we are going to reach necessary climate goals, we need a new model with distributed energy production, says founder and Chief Innovation Officer in Hagal, Kent Thoresen.

Batteries give flexibility

 The world does not have enough hydropower to cover the energy needed for when fossil fuels are being phased out. Renewable energy is dependent on the sun and wind, but what happens when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing?

– We are depending on a corresponding distributed storage capacity in the grid. Batteries bring flexibility to the grid, and allow us to store and distribute power when we need it. Locally stored power and production are key to a rapid transition to the power grid of tomorrow. Extensive use of batteries, for instance in combination with solar panels on the roof, will reduce price fluctuations and give a power surplus that can be used for power intensive measures like carbon capture, Thoresen explains.

Used batteries in the power grid

 In 2018, the founders of Hagal started developing a new generation battery management system, using artificial intelligence to expand the battery life cycle and give used EV batteries a second life in energy storage systems. A technology that works like an AC battery with seamless integration in the power grid.

– Batteries are highly scalable and can be tailored to different applications, in the power grid and the energy market. We enable peak shaving, removing the need to increase grid capacity. By using B cells and used batteries, investments can be directed at power production and storage. Our vision is clear. Smart batteries in the power grid will be central for electrification and the transition to a zero emission society, the Hagal founder emphasizes.

Second life batteries – a key part of the solution

 According to a Greenpeace study, almost 13 million tonnes of batteries from electrical vehicles will end their journey by 2030. An enormous amount of nickel, cobalt and lithium must be handled in a sustainable manner. Production of new batteries takes a lot of power and access to more than 10 million tonnes of raw materials, which is much more than we can obtain. Second life batteries can solve this problem.

–The technological development enables recertification and reuse of batteries, and Hagal is in the driver’s seat with our Rebel technology. Reuse will be very important for the circular economy and to ensure access to the large amount of batteries that we will need for energy storage and optimization of the power grid, says Thoresen.

According to Greenpeace, used lithium batteries from electric cars that are reused for energy storage will meet the global need for this type of solution as early as 2030. The study also shows that batteries that are given a new life will cost less than half as much as new batteries.

– More people can afford to use batteries for energy storage solutions, charging stations and other critical infrastructure. This will speed up electrification and reduce the demand for new batteries. This is how we limit the environmentally damaging recovery of raw materials and emissions in connection with the production of new battery cells, says Thoresen.

Media Contact:

Mona Øverby
Head of Marketing, Communication and Sustainability
Email : mona.overby@hagal.com
M : + 47 408 57 887