New research project will extend the lifespan of electric vehicle batteries
Enhancing the circularity of electric vehicle (EV) batteries can both boost the manufacturing industry and contribute to a more sustainable society with climate-neutral transport for example. Investigations are currently being conducted into the possibilities of this through a new research project at MDU, in close cooperation with Swedish industry.
In 2023, several tons of electric car batteries will have reached the end of their lifespan. Today, around a fifth of the battery’s full capacity is used, which has huge consequences on our environment since the batteries are not fully used. At MDU researchers are presently investigating how their remaining capacity could be used by companies to lengthen the battery life and thus reduce the environmental impact.
“The Circul8 (Smart battery circularity) project addresses issues such as electrification, circular economy and digitalisation; three of the largest challenges that industrial manufacturing companies and society are currently facing,” says Koteshwar Chirumalla, Project Manager and Associate Professor of Product and Process Development at MDU.
“The question of “what can we do with these spent batteries?” arises because they are potentially dangerous and contain critical raw materials. Retaining the actual value from these spent EV batteries through re-manufacturing, recycling and use in new areas is the cornerstone for achieving the goals of zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and, in the long term, for enabling climate-neutral transport by 2050,” says Koteshwar Chirumalla.
Addresses various areas in the industry
The project comprises three sub-projects, concerning business models, digital twins and performance monitoring, all of which address the question of how to maximise the circularity of electric batteries in Swedish industry. The three projects examine how advanced digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud services can facilitate the circularity of electric batteries.
Research is being conducted in collaboration with the following nine industrial companies: Volvo Construction Equipment AB, Epiroc Rock Drills AB, Svealandstrafiken AB, Northvolt Revolt, ABB E-mobility AB, KPRO AB, IBM Svenska AB, Cling Systems AB and Canary Bit AB.
“Circul8 hopes to provide an excellent collaborative platform between industry and academia. This means that our partner companies can expand their knowledge and skills required to achieve their goals in various areas,” says Koteshwar Chirumalla.
“Due to this cooperation, Volvo CE expects to benefit from knowledge gained on circular business models and a digital service portfolio on electric vehicles and batteries and digital twins for batteries. And in addition, insight on operational strategies for customers' site optimisation to drive internal and external transformation to drive circularity,” says Andreas Hjertström, who is responsible for research cooperation at Volvo Construction Equipment.
New research profile at MDU
Through the Circul8 project, a new research profile on the circularity of electric batteries will also be created at MDU, with the ambition to produce societal and industrial impact in the area. The project, which is a continuation of the ongoing and almost finalised Recreate project, will be funded with SEK 10 million from the Knowledge Foundation’s (KK-stiftelsen) programme Synergi External link..
“When academia and the private sector collaborate in joint research projects, new ideas are born and additional projects and partnerships are created that benefit both parties. The Synergi programme enables research to be conducted that may require expertise from different research domains to answer a complex question,” says Yvonne Fors, Programme Manager at The Knowledge Foundation.