Enormous amounts of used car batteries will end their life cycles at recycling facilities over the next few years. –Hagal’s new technology will ensure that battery reuse is a key measure to enable emission reduction and a better circular economy, says CEO Christian Ringvold.
In July, the EU released its green “super package”, Fit for 55, with a large number of measures and legislative changes that will contribute to the 2030 target of at least a 55 percent cut in emissions. At the same time, news of extreme weather has dominated the newscycle and reinforced the message that there is an urgent need to reduce climate emissions and prevent global warming from continuing.
– To achieve the goals that have been set, we need renewable energy sources – on a large scale. Oil, energy and coal currently make up around 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption. Electrification, with the phasing out of fossil fuels, will proceed at lightning speed in the next few years, but the current power grid is not dimensioned for the major system change. The calculation doesn’t work, says Ringvold, who is CEO of the Oslo-based scale-up.
– Energy storage solutions in networks are absolutely crucial for us to succeed with the electrification and transition to a zero-emission based society, and then batteries are needed. It is the only technology that is flexible enough and that ensures more balanced energy and consumption, he explains.
A battery revolution – with Norway in the driver’s seat
Ringvold saw the possibilities in battery technology early on when he worked for the battery producers, A123 Systems, in the USA, and later co-founded the battery manufacturer, Lithium Werks as a management buyout from A123 Systems. Those experiences gradually gave a clear picture of where the margins lie in the process of developing lithium batteries. Optimisation further down the value chain, by extending battery life, would be important for future sustainability.
– The ongoing system change has created a battery boom. Today, there are an enormous number of players who work with batteries and chemicals, and put all their efforts into developing the batteries of the future. The innovations are many, and lithium batteries are improved by an average of 3-4 percent each year. There will be many winners in this segment of the market, Ringvold states.
With more than 32 million electric cars on the roads, which have batteries that will be phased out when the capacity goes below 80 percent, means that we will get huge amounts of used batteries in the next few years. Norway, with its high share of electric cars and new sales of over 50 percent, is uniquely positioned for value creation through sorting and the reuse of batteries. Instead, efforts are directed at large-scale production and recycling of batteries.
– We will not be able to cover all the energy we need for electrification and energy storage, and end up in a situation with raw material shortages and deficits in batteries. The solution is to ensure the reuse of battery cells, in addition to using B cells that the car manufacturers do not want. If we can prevent the battery cells from going straight into the grinder, there will be more than enough batteries, the Hagal boss explains, and continues:
– In the next few years, technological development will ensure that the values in the circular economy shift from recycling to reuse and “second life” for car batteries. The technology that makes this possible is emerging, and Hagal is in the driver’s seat.
– We have built a strong foundation for Hagal, developing the strategy and technology. Combined with outstanding top talent of employees that have a passion for sustainability and technology. Now it’s about execution and delivering in the market. We will also collaborate with companies that want to create change, develop a more sustainable business model and focus on circular solutions, explains the CEO.
Will make batteries a clear first choice
Hagal already supplies battery solutions to several companies, including in the maritime sector. Ringvold highlights ASKO Maritime as a brilliant example of green transformation in practice. They will use Hagal’s technology in their battery solutions for charging at the quay and backup of the world’s first-of-its-kind self-propelled cargo ships that start their journey between Horten and Moss in the new year.
– With Hagal’s technology, Rebel Core, we will save the batteries from the grinder and ensure that they are used in much-needed energy storage solutions for solar and wind, in battery solutions for ferries and construction sites, or as a green energy source for other critical infrastructure. Hagal wants to make electric power so easily accessible and easy to deal with that it will be the first, second and third choice, he says.
The scalability of Hagal’s solutions means that customers outside of Norway’s borders can quickly become a reality. Ringvold makes no secret of the company’s high ambitions with plans for international expansion in 2022.
– You can have a very good idea, but it does not help if the timing is bad. With all the forces of the market: the steep curve for electrification, the large supply of used car batteries, new requirements and guidelines to ensure the transition to renewable energy and less emissions, not least – the demands for quick action – Hagal is perfectly positioned for the market, and to introduce a new and an important contribution to the circular economy, in Norway and internationally, Ringvold emphasizes.
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