The DSNA (Direction des services de la Navigation aérienne) antennas cover the French territory for communications and air tracking (notably ADS-B). Given the criticality of these installations, these antennas have power generators to ensure the continuity of operations.
The DSNA’s intention is to replace these diesel generators with a clean back-up system consisting of solar panels, a hydrogen fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery.
In September 2021, the new energy back-up system was inaugurated at the SARLAT antenna in Dordogne. PowerTech Systems provided the PowerRack battery system for this prototype.
In the longer term, this eco-responsible backup system is destined to be deployed on all the antennas of the territory.
Our company has been selected and enrolled in a new innovation project led by the European Union. We are proud to participate in the MARBEL project, whose objective is to develop a vehicle battery that meets the acceptance criteria for the future, namely ecodesign, modularity, use of recycled and environmentally friendly materials, additive manufacturing, ultra-fast charging, and last but not least low manufacturing costs.
Our contribution in this project is major since we will be in charge of developing a distributed and ultra-communicating BMS system for the management, control and piloting of this new generation battery.
The ultimate goal of this project is to produce this battery of the future for a car model of the FCA (FIAT-CHRISLER) group from the end of 2024.
With the goal of accelerating the mass market take-up of ultra-high-performance batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV), MARBEL project (Manufacturing and Assembly of modular and Reusable Battery for Environment-friendly and Lightweight mobility) will base its approaches, solutions and innovations around the versatility concept as an axis within the entire project. It will focus on the need for fast charging and long-lasting batteries to boost end user demands, while applying high modularity and easy assembly and developing novel testing methodologies for safety, profitability and circularity.
MARBEL will design, develop and demonstrate new modular, compact, lightweight and high-performance battery packs together with flexible and robust battery management systems for these BEV and PHEV, while maintaining safety levels, allowing fast, high quality and cost-effective large-scale production and following the “made by Ecodesign” principles. A set of modules easy to pack together and to disassemble would ease the manufacture and dismantling of different battery configurations sharing the same production process and common elements.
MARBEL will develop and qualify future and innovative performance- and safety-related test procedures of developed functionalities such as the use of miniaturised housings, a flexible test-bench simulating integration-in-EV conditions (electric Vehicle In-the-Loop, eVIL) and artificial intelligence as a tool to reduce the time of laboratory experiments.
MARBEL aims at a triple win, for people, business and planet.
MARBEL is expected to generate scientific and technological impacts, boost the appearance and consolidation of new players (especially SMEs) and business models, reinforce the European position in the global battery market, and contribute to environmental and societal targets.
In addition, MARBEL approach is based on the following pillars:
Advanced battery packaging using a Design for Assembly (DfA) and Disassembly (DfD) methodology.
Lightweight and sustainable battery packaging.
Solutions and processes for the sustainable dismantling and 2nd life.
Ultra-fast charging strategies and enhanced thermal management.
Future performance & safety-related test procedures.
MARBEL consortium is made of 16 partners from 8 different European countries, representative of the aimed multi-stakeholder collaboration and business drivers required for developing the battery pack of the future.
We are pleased to announce our partnership with the French Start Up Shark Robotics, which specialises in the manufacture of multi-role robots and whose vocation is to keep man away from risk.
Within this framework, PowerTech develops and supplies the batteries embedded in these autonomous robots, which are very robust and designed to replace man in delicate situations.
For example, the Colossus robot, a cute 500 kg baby, helped save Notre-Dame de Paris from flames in 2019 by manoeuvring the fire hose as close to the fire as possible, where the firefighters could not get to without risk to their lives.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Shark Robotics has designed a new robot called “RHYNO PROTECT” whose mission is to spray disinfectant solutions over 20 000 m² in less than 3 hours, i.e. 2m² per second, without exposing humans to the risk of contamination.
Modular, this robot can also purify the air in confined environments, such as hospitals. An air purification option allows up to 99.99% of suspended pathogenic micro-organisms to be eliminated, thanks to a UV-C lamp.
These innovations are being exported, so much so that the prestigious American company Boston Robotics” is going to equip its “SPOT” robots with this decontamination add-on developed by Shark Robotics.
PowerTech Systems would like to honour all the medical personnel for their admirable mobilisation in this crisis, and is happy to participate indirectly in the war effort to combat the scourge that is COVID-19.
In the recent presentation of Tesla’s 2nd quarter results, Elon Musk confirmed that lithium-iron-phosphate batteries (often referred to as LFP) will play a key role in powering the company’s larger vehicles, starting with the Shanghai Model 3 :
Total vehicle efficiency has gotten good enough — with Model 3 for example — that we actually are comfortable having an iron phosphate battery pack in Model 3 in China. That will be in volume production later this year. So we think that getting a range that is in the high 200s — almost 300 miles — with an iron phosphate pack taking into account a whole bunch of of powertrain and other vehicle efficiencies.
And that that frees up a lot of capacity for things like the Tesla Semi and other projects that require higher energy density [batteries]. So you have two supply chains that you can tap into: iron phosphate or nickel-based chemistries.
The fundamental advantage of LFP is that, compared to the nickel-based cathodes traditionally used, its main constituent minerals – iron, phosphates and, more recently, traces of manganese – are very abundant and relatively inexpensive. Iron ore, for example, is mined at a volume of nearly 3 billion metric tons each year, a thousand times more than the approximately 2.5 million tons of nickel that are mined annually.
Then there are the well-known problems surrounding cobalt, with ethically complex supply chains, limited quantities mined (most of which are already claimed for battery manufacturing), and high prices.
Tesla uses at least two varieties of nickel-cobalt batteries, from Panasonic (NCA) and LG Chem (NCM), and has tried to minimize the amount of cobalt needed, but there is always some exposure to cobalt, and exposure to nickel is obviously unavoidable, it is the key ingredient in this class of battery chemistry.
Overall, therefore, key minerals for LFP batteries are much more abundant, and prices are cheaper (and more stable) than those for nickel-based battery minerals. This translates into the fact that LFP batteries are already slightly cheaper than nickel-based batteries per kWh. Because the constituent minerals are so inexpensive, and the energy density of LFP cells is constantly improving, this price per kWh could drop even further in the coming years.