What’s better than a brand new EV battery? A recycled EV battery. What’s better than a recycled EV battery? A remanufactured EV battery.
At least that’s what Seoul-based EV battery remanufacturing startup POEN thinks. That stands for POsitive ENergy which makes sense given the great work they’re doing to help transition the world to a sustainable energy economy. CleanTechnica sat down with their team at CES 2024 in Las Vegas in the Hyundai CRADLE booth to get the inside scoop and they made a strong case for EV battery pack remanufacturing.
Their process starts with the acquisition of EV battery packs that are no longer viable for use in vehicles. From there, they plug in their proprietary State of Health (SoH) assessment tool and get to work. When the tool is connected to a battery pack, it runs a comprehensive assessment on the pack including charging and discharging cycles for each cell in the pack to test the voltage of the battery pack, battery modules, and individual cells.
It then returns back with the state of health of the pack, modules, and each cell within the pack. Their thinking was that there’s no need to scrap the pack or even replace individual modules within the pack if they can just replace individual cells causing problems. Once the assessment is complete, they know exactly where to focus.
They crack open the pack and replace just the defective cells with brand new cells. After all the damaged cells in the pack have been replaced, it is put back together according to manufacturer specifications and put onto the market as a used pack.
This ensures that the majority of the value and emissions that went into the production of the initial pack is retained and enables the pack to be put back into circulation at a fraction of the cost of a new pack. That’s a financial win for customers buying the remanufactured pack, a win for the planet and apparently, POEN thinks they can make some money along the way.
To date, POEN has remanufactured around 1,000 packs and has been ramping up over the last 3 years as a startup in Hyundai’s CRADLE program. They’re currently able to process about 2,000 packs per year and is targeting a run rate of around 5,000 packs per year in 2025.
They currently only work with lithium-ion packs primarily sourced from Hyundai and Kia but their solution can technically work with any battery cell chemistry. POEN is still in the early days of their journey, but they estimate that about 80% of the packs that come in can be remanufactured. Packs that are not suitable for manufacturing can be used in stationery, energy storage applications or broken down and recycled.
POEN is not alone in building tools to determine the health of EV battery packs, but their remanufacturing process is the first we’ve seen. We’re excited that they’re doing this in Korea given Hyunda/Kia’s presence there and look forward to their expansion within Korea and beyond in the coming years.
For more information about POEN, head over to their website.
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