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Renewables 2.0 – a glimpse ahead

Author 360°mobility
Renewables 2.0 – a glimpse ahead

360°mobility is a Belgrade-based startup which stands at the intersection of e-mobility, renewable energy and battery technology. It aims to connect e-mobility with renewable energy sources on one hand, and on the other, to focus on batteries that will, in the future, not only store energy but also help balance energy systems. 360°mobility’s founder, Filip Mitrović, brings nearly 18 years of experience in the automotive industry, with over eight years focused on e-mobility.

Just when renewable energy projects in Southeast Europe really started to gather momentum and the share of clean energy in the mix started climbing, many producers in the region realized that at the moment energy is generated, most of it cannot be used. Therefore, a new challenge arises: how to preserve clean energy and not spoil the trend of improving the energy mix. You can probably guess what the answer is here - battery systems. The reason is very simple - modern battery systems can absorb a large amount of energy and save it for later use. 

Let's take a short break here and segue into another area - the shift in the automotive industry, which is steadily transforming, with manufacturers switching from just selling vehicles to providing mobility services. The heart of this transformation, and its sustainability, lies in, you guessed it, battery systems. Notably, a battery system enables comprehensive planning of the product's entire life cycle right from the outset, employing the renowned "cradle to grave" approach. The primary objective is to minimize carbon and other undesirable footprints at every phase of the life cycle, with the ultimate goal of complete elimination.

So, what does the transformation of the automotive industry have to do with renewable energy sources, to return to the beginning of the story? The answer is straightforward – it is all about the identical battery systems. Yes, you read that right, the same battery system is capable of storing energy collected from renewable sources for an appropriate and desired moment, just as it enables safer, more comfortable, and affordable mobility from point A to point B.

Now, consider the intricate interconnections involved when contemplating the functionality and longevity of a battery system. Nearly every manufacturer of battery systems provides a minimum assurance that it will endure for a minimum of eight years or cover a distance of 160,000 kilometers in a vehicle. Notably, numerous instances exist where the warranty extends to 10 years or spans 200,000 kilometers. Yet, it doesn't end there. In addition to these specifications, battery system manufacturers pledge that the capacity will not dip below 70% in comparison to its initial startup and energy delivery. In real-world scenarios, electric vehicles exceeding a decade in age have accumulated mileage surpassing 300,000, 400,000, and even exceeding 500,000 kilometers, with their battery systems still maintaining a capacity well above the 70% threshold.

And what do you think happens to those battery systems that have fallen below the 70% threshold, considering that we mentioned we have a "cradle to grave" plan in advance? You might think they go for recycling, surely. But, here we come to the crux of the story - actually, when the battery systems in vehicles are "spent" and lose their desired characteristics, the battery systems and their parts are prepared and reborn for their second cycle - they become energy storage units.

The significance of this connection between the renewables and automotive industries becomes even more evident when drawing comparisons with smart devices such as smartphones and power bank batteries for charging. The parallels between vehicles and energy storage units are strikingly similar, albeit with substantially larger energy capacities. Consider a 60 kWh battery system, which, instead of fixating on its numerical value, let's view it as the power source enabling a passenger car to travel at least 350 km on a single charge. Remarkably, this amount of energy is sufficient to meet the weekend energy needs of a four-person household, assuming electricity usage for heating and all other appliances. Imagine the capabilities of this battery system in summer conditions or, on a grander scale, the battery system of a city electric bus, nearly ten times larger. The possibilities become virtually limitless, especially when considering these intelligent systems' ability to discern when to utilize energy directly from renewable sources versus the power supply system, such as during evening hours when electricity is more economical.

And the cherry on top: after serving as an energy storage unit for a typical duration, usually five to ten years, the battery system transitions into the recycling phase. All components, including associated cooling and heating systems, as well as plastic parts, can be efficiently recycled, achieving a recycling rate exceeding 90%. Experts anticipate that, as technology advances, battery systems will approach near 100% recyclability. This not only brings the systems closer to carbon neutrality but goes beyond.

Delving into the technicalities, it is worth noting that the modules constituting the battery systems are highly interchangeable and repairable. Even the cells within these modules can undergo easy repairs. All these facets underscore the versatility of the battery system, which we aptly refer to simply as a battery. This innovation offers an array of possibilities, paving the way for a cleaner and better future for generations to come — or at the very least, a slightly cleaner atmosphere.

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