Lithium-ion batteries are currently one of the most mature solutions for storing electricity. Nevertheless, one challenge remains to be overcome: to extend their service life and combat their planned obsolescence.
It is this exactly this problem to which the PowerUp innovation, created with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), provides a solution. By remotely monitoring the state of health of lithium-ion batteries to provide for their replacement, this technology can increase their service life twofold. This is a major breakthrough for managers of autonomous fleets (electric vehicles, safety lighting, Solar Home Systems, etc.), key stakeholders in the Smart City, who as such save time in terms of supervision and maintain their equipment longer. In other words, PowerUp preserves both battery life and the environment!
Benefiting from the CEA's expertise in lithium-ion batteries, the team is made up of individuals possessing a range of different skills - from data analytics experts and doctors in electrochemistry, to electrical engineers.
4 questions to PowerUp
Where did you get the idea for this startup?
PowerUp is at the crossroads of a need expressed by a young company (Lumila) and the expertise of the CEA. As part of the development of single-battery safety lights for the SNCF, Lumila called on the expertise of CEA-Liten to work on the management of the Li-ion battery of these lights. A proof of concept was carried out, which allowed the service life of batteries to be optimised by taking into account all the charging parameters such as the charging current, state of charge, state of health, and temperature. With this first, very positive experiment, the intention was to create a young agile structure capable of responding and supporting companies in the smart management of battery banks. Lumila has of course joined in this new adventure!
Any recent good news?
The Li-ion battery market is very dynamic. We are seeing many cases of use - and particularly fleets - of autonomous products, such as electric scooters and e-bikes. Today, controlling storage is essential, for both environmental and economic reasons. PowerUp offers fleet managers solutions that on average increase battery life twofold, enable rapid charging by self-learning usage, and provide visibility of the state of health of fleets in order to carry out predictive maintenance.
What is the most unexpected thing that your startup has made you do?
We worked with Enedis on single-battery safety lighting units (lights with the little green man!) in order to make battery life more reliable and to be able to automatically schedule maintenance. To do this, we created a network communicating between all the units, and then to the network. We then had the idea with Enedis to exploit this new network of communicating products to locate isolated workers, in areas where the GSM network doesn’t reach! The staff working in these areas are equipped with portable lamps that communicate via Bluetooth with the lighting blocks. This allows isolated personnel to be located at any time, even when there is a power cut. Similarly, it can issue an alert. This concept has been co-patent with Enedis!
In what way does your project revolutionise your category?
Energy storage is at the heart of the energy transition. All Smart City sectors are affected by battery electrification: mobility, renewable energy storage, autonomous houses, etc. As such, our project to improve battery management addresses these many applications at the heart of the energy revolution that is underway. There are many battery suppliers that guarantee long service life under specific conditions. However, we have observed in the field that service lives are very random, depending on our uses, and very different from the service life declared by suppliers, since the nominal operating conditions do not correspond to actual operating conditions. PowerUp has developed unique charge management algorithms taking into account charge parameters, ageing modes, temperature ranges, etc., to guarantee service life increased by twofold on average. Even more important! Today, and after only a few months of use, managers of fleets of scooters or e-bikes no longer know the actual state of health of their battery fleets, and therefore face service hazards. With our solution cloud-connected solution, we are able to monitor the progression of each battery in real time and adapt our algorithms to optimise service life. As such, managers will have perfect visibility over their fleet and will be able to schedule the maintenance to be carried out.