Charging Ahead: Innovations in Battery Efficiency

Published on 2024-06-07

Startup Story

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Exploring Reli's journey with CEO Laura Laringe, in revolutionizing energy storage by optimizing battery lifespan and efficiency, enhancing sustainability and profitability in renewable energy projects.

Optimizing Battery Life and Efficiency

The story of our startup, Reli, began when my co-founders and I were still at university. We worked on a project focused on second-life batteries from electric vehicles. This experience highlighted the inefficient operation of batteries in the energy storage industry, where short-term financial gains were prioritized over long-term health. Recognizing that optimizing battery usage could extend their lifespan and increase revenues, we developed prototype software to address this issue. Eventually, we left our jobs to work full-time on Reli. 

Our company uses an optimization algorithm to maximize battery lifespan and revenue by collecting data from the battery management system, modeling battery health, and integrating renewable energy data. Our platform features a small hardware device for data collection, real-time insights into battery health, and predictive analytics. We offer flexible solutions, including operational schedules and direct control of batteries, to ensure optimal performance. For grid-scale projects, our platform includes energy trading functions to balance immediate financial benefits with long-term sustainability. 

 Efficiency in Renewable Energy Storage

Energy storage is crucial for renewable projects as it allows us to store excess electricity produced by renewables. However, manufacturing batteries is very CO2-intensive, presenting a significant environmental challenge. Despite the benefits of renewables combined with energy storage, not using batteries to their full potential means missing out on opportunities and failing to maximize sustainability. At Reli, we can increase battery lifetime by up to 35%, extending their usage by several years and reducing the need for new batteries, thus conserving materials and decreasing waste. To illustrate, consider a cell phone battery: frequent overcharging and discharging can degrade its lifespan. Similarly, for large-scale batteries, the way they are charged and discharged affects their efficiency, lifespan, and profitability. Over time, as a battery degrades, its capacity diminishes, leading to reduced energy storage and, consequently, lower profits. By optimizing battery usage, we can maintain higher capacity, increase efficiency, and boost profits. Our algorithm customizes its approach based on the battery type and use case. For instance, if a battery stores electricity from solar panels for self-sufficiency, it will be managed differently than one used for energy trading. Our optimization algorithm adapts to these scenarios, ensuring optimal battery operation while maximizing its lifespan.


Maximizing Battery Efficiency and Health in Renewable Energy Projects

At Reli, we offer a comprehensive solution for optimizing battery usage in renewable energy projects. Our services start with helping clients determine the best battery size and potential revenues for various use cases. We provide a simulation tool that allows customers to plan effectively, understanding how the battery can be operated, how much revenue it can generate, and the optimal battery capacity for maximum revenue. This planning tool is crucial, but the most important aspect is managing the battery's operation and health over time. Our platform offers real-time insights into the battery's state of health, allowing us to detect imbalances and address problems before they escalate. By continuously monitoring the battery's health, we can determine if the battery can exceed the manufacturer's lifespan estimate, often finding that with proper care, it can last longer than expected. This knowledge alone can extend battery life, and when combined with our operational optimization, it ensures maximum efficiency and longevity.
Despite being in the pilot stage, we've received positive feedback for our unique focus on long-term battery health and lifetime optimization, a critical aspect often overlooked in the industry. Most solutions prioritize short-term financial gains, but our emphasis on health and lifetime not only increases the usable capacity of batteries but also enhances their overall sustainability and profitability. This innovative approach sets us apart in the industry and is a key factor in the positive responses we have garnered.

One of the significant challenges we faced at Reli was transitioning from our initial idea on paper to a functional, real-world system. Our early years were heavily focused on research, with everything being simulation-based and theoretical. We had developed innovative concepts, but translating this innovation into a practical system ready for installation was quite challenging. This transition required us to extend our expertise beyond electrical energy engineering, learning many new skills related to system-based implementation.

We also needed support from other industry professionals to integrate our innovation into a workable system. The innovation itself came relatively easily, but turning it into a tangible product was the real challenge. With the right support and skills, we successfully navigated this transition. Now, our primary focus is bringing our product to market. We are currently conducting pilot projects to test our system, gather feedback, and refine our product for scalability. Our goal is to complete the product by this summer, making it ready for market deployment and capable of being installed on various devices. 

About the author

Laura Laringe