Intelligent Battery Tech Firm Wins 2017 New Energy Challenge

Technology that increases the lifetime and reliability of battery packs won first place this week in the New Energy Challenge 2017 in Amsterdam.

Start-up U.K. company Brill Power received a 100,000-euro (US$118,000) convertible loan for its submission of an innovative solution that enables individual control of each lithium-ion cell in a battery pack.

In a recent video about the company, Brill Power CEO Christoph Birkl said that what happens inside a battery is really important, noting that over time, batteries lose their ability to store energy not only because of their material properties, but also because all the cells are slightly different. They lose their ability to store energy at different rates, and current batteries can’t handle that difference. Therefore, the performance of the entire battery is limited by the weakest cell.

To make batteries smarter, Birkl said, Brill Power has created a smarter battery design.

“Through intelligent cell management, Brill Power technology extends the lifetime and improves the performance of multi-cell batteries,” he said.

The company plans to sell microchips to battery makers who can integrate the chips with their battery designs.

Birkl said the company expects the intelligent controls will provide a 60 percent longer lifetime for batteries. Among Brill Power’s target markets is grid-scale energy storage, he said.

Shell Technology Ventures, Rockstart and YES!Delft presented the New Energy Challenge initiative, which offered a competitive environment for Europe’s start-ups engaged in the energy transition.

Runner-ups for the challenge were Solaris Offgrid of Spain and HySiLabs from France.

Solaris Offgrid provides affordable access to energy through modular pay-as-you-go solar energy platforms. HySiLabs developed a hydrogen-based liquid fuel that is readily available, stable, non-toxic, non-explosive, generates no emissions, and is easy to transport and store.

Lead image credit: New Energy Challenge

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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