UK clean tech start-up Connected Energy has today announced it has secured £15m from a group of five leading investors in support of its plans to convert used electric vehicle (EV) batteries into commercial energy storage systems.
Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., the Hinduja Group, Mercuria, OurCrowd, and Volvo Energy have joined Engie New Ventures, Macquarie, and the Low Carbon Innovation Fund as investors in the pioneering firm.
Connected Energy said the investment would enable it to scale its technology and operations as the number of “second life” EV batteries multiplies and demand for energy storage systems continued to grow.
The company said it already had 16 operational energy storage systems across Europe in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
Its largest project to date on the campus of Cranfield University in Bedfordshire has allowed the university to accommodate a newly enlarged solar farm and air source heat pump while reducing its reliance on a gas-combined heat and power system (CHP), the company said.
Meanwhile, at other sites in Germany Connected Energy’s units are helping to balance energy supply where EV chargers are used on either side of a motorway.
The next phase of investment will enable Connected Energy to scale up its technology and operations in response to a growing energy storage market and increasing international availability of second life batteries, the company said.
It will also facilitate the in-house development of the company’s first large scale M-STOR system which is planned to be boasting between 20MW and 40MWh of capacity, employing a contracted ‘flow’ of batteries from multiple OEMs to provide long term operational services to customers.
Matthew Lumsden, CEO at Connected Energy, said that when batteries are around 25 per cent degraded they are often considered unsuited to life in a vehicle but still have sufficient capacity for up to 10 years’ more use in a battery energy storage system (BESS) .
“In order to grow the second life battery industry, strong pan-value chain relationships will be critical to Connected Energy as it expands, and the company’s new investors will complement this effort,” he said Lumsden.
“This marks a key gateway for our business. Our group of investors now span battery supply through to project deployment and monetisation, and critically this will enable us to plan and manage technology and project development to maximise the volume of batteries that are redeployed in second life applications.”
Joachim Rosenberg, President at Volvo Energy, welcomed the new investment. “There is a great deal of unapped potential in the second-life use of batteries,” he said. “This forward-leaning investment aims to facilitate the scaling-up of second-life battery energy storage systems and further secure circular business opportunities for the forthcoming ramp-up in Volvo Group’s second-life battery returns.”