GA-iX challenge: Battery Inventory System – Track, Trace and Report on Lithium Ion Batteries

This Innovation Exchange challenge, delivered by Innovate UK KTN through the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting Hinckley Group to identify innovative solutions for a tracking system for individual batteries, enabling circular usage.

Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

29/09/2022

Registration Closes

11/11/2022

Award

Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Hinckley Group. The winning applicant, as selected by Hinckley, will get the opportunity to collaborate with Hinckley on a trial project. Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding is available to the successful finalist for this collaboration.

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Hinckley Group, a Nigerian electronic waste recycling company, is responsible for processing a wide variety of waste streams, one of the most complex of which is lithium batteries.

With intense focus now on renewable energy, increasing battery storage capacity is required, resulting in more batteries being imported into Nigeria (currently 5-10 tonnes pa) with a steep future trajectory predicted. These batteries require careful recycling at the end of their first working lives. They are complex to ship and expensive to process and their storage creates a fire risk. Furthermore, many shipping lines are now refusing to export them. Hence local and sustainable solutions must be found to deal with them.

Hinckley Group is actively looking for innovative solutions to be able to track, trace and report on the condition of Lithium Ion batteries (and other batteries)

Their initial work has shown promise in terms of processing and categorising these batteries for second life use. They require a tracking system that will code individual batteries for circular usage. They will need to track, trace and report on batteries’ condition to be able to decide which can be reused, and for what use, and which must be recycled or destroyed.

Hinckley Group is open to a wide range of solutions, from mechanical or electromagnetic solutions to Digital Ledger Technology such as blockchain or other beneficial technology.

There is a pass or fail threshold for the amount of life in batteries. If they pass, lab techs will reset them for second-life usage, such as lighting or cooling usage. There could also be sale or leasing solutions developed (with short-term or long-term contracts)

About 60% of these cells will have a useful second life and the purpose of this challenge is the building of a robust inventory process to manage the lifecycle of these cells. A key requirement will be to identify which kinds of cells are best for which uses and what life expectancy is reliably expected. The remaining 40% of cells will not be useful and must be disposed/recycled elsewhere.

We foresee two main areas to explore:

  • Providing a physical labelling solution using barcodes/QR codes
  • Providing a software solution for battery inventory management

Related Challenge

This challenge will complement another challenge being run concurrently to find second life use for battery packs. Together they will help to solve the problem of valuable power resources being discarded, creating expense and pollution. They will also create opportunities for Hinckley Group to manage power solutions within the Circular Economy and support innovative businesses. The solution selected will ideally be scalable across other Hinckley Group waste streams.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Hinckley Group. The winning applicant, as selected by Hinckley, will get the opportunity to collaborate with Hinckley on a trial project.

The package may also include:

  • Up to 25k seed funding (subject to T&C). Note: seed funding is only available for up to 12 months, so longer term projects should be scheduled to reach milestones within this period.
  • Access to Hinkley Group facilities (workshop at Lekki Axis) and batteries
  • Technical support and mentorship from Hinckley Group team
  • Mentorship programme with Startup Discovery School (facilitated by KTN)
  • Industry sector expertise from KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant.

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • Africa-based entrants are prioritised but solutions from the UK or RoW are invited to apply also.

For further details on the challenge, technical and functional requirements, and how to apply, visit the GA-iX site.

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