The winners of the 2021 edition of the i-Nov competition have been announced. BE ENERGY is very proud to have been awarded a prize under the “Circular Economy” theme. The award reflects BE ENERGY’s commitment to local resilience and environmentally-friendly solutions, and will also enable the French company to bring to fruition its Régen’Pulse project, an innovative regeneration process for NiMH and Li-ion batteries.
What is the ADEME i-Nov competition?
The i-Nov innovation competition is part of the Future Investments Programme (PIA). Managed by the General Secretariat for Investment (SGPI), it reflects the French government’s desire to finance innovative and promising investments across the country. The aim of the PIA is to enable France to develop its potential for growth and jobs.
Launched in 2017, the i-Nov competition aims to support innovative projects led by start-ups and SMEs, as well as encouraging the accelerated emergence of companies that are leaders in their field and capable of claiming global stature.
Every year, ADEME selects innovation projects with high potential for the French economy. The winners receive grants and repayable advances to finance research, development and innovation projects worth between €600,000 and €5 million. To date, the i-Nov competition has more than 400 winners.
In 2021, the eighth wave of the i-Nov part of the Innovation Contest aims to support innovative projects led by start-ups and SMEs in 10 areas:
- Health – Modelling and digital simulation tools for biomedicine development
- Health – Innovative medical devices with a hardware component
- Adapting agriculture to climate change and hazard management
- Digital Deep tech
- French Fab – industry of the future
- Circular economy including recycling of critical metals
- Environmental performance of buildings
- Adapting regions to climate change
- Reducing the environmental footprint of digital technology
- Transforming cultural and creative industries and events through digital technology
BE ENERGY, winner of the i-Nov 2021 “Circular Economy” competition
For nearly 20 years, BE ENERGY has been demonstrating its world-renowned expertise in the regeneration of lead/acid and nickel-cadmium batteries. BE ENERGY’s solutions play an active role in extending the life of batteries to reduce their environmental impact, while enabling users to benefit from substantial financial savings.
Massive reduction in greenhouse gases
Regenerating lead-acid batteries makes it possible to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Compared with buying a new battery, regenerating a lead-acid battery generates 50 times fewer CO2 emissions.
A driver of local resilience
Battery regeneration is also a driver of local resilience, as it encourages the creation of new jobs.
BE ENERGY’s Régen’Pulse project
BE ENERGY has won an award from ADEME under the “Circular Economy” theme, for its “Régen’Pulse” project, which aims to develop a regeneration process for NiMH and Li-ion batteries. These batteries are used in particular in hybrid and electric vehicles.
A response to the end-of-life of NiMH and Li-ion batteries
BE ENERGY’s ‘Régen’Pulse’ project is innovative in a number of respects, not least the use and end-of-life of NiMH and Li-ion batteries:
- Some of the materials used in these batteries – notably lithium and cobalt – are considered critical by the European Commission1.
- Recycling of NiMH and Li-ion batteries is less developed than for lead-acid batteries.
- The fuel consumption of a hybrid vehicle with an ageing battery is considerable, reducing the benefits of hybridisation.
The process of regenerating NiMH and Li-ion batteries offers great potential and a suitable response to the problems mentioned above. BE ENERGY’s project will increase local resilience to the need to import these batteries, by creating a circular economy around regeneration. The environmental impact, meanwhile, is considerable, since regenerating these batteries also increases their lifespan.
The objectives of the Régen’Pulse project, awarded a prize by ADEME in 2021
The objectives of the Régen’Pulse project are :
- To develop an “intelligent” diagnostic tool for regenerating NiMH batteries at the end of their life. At the heart of this tool is a data collection and analysis algorithm, as well as a regenerator based on the use of electrical pulses adapted to this type of battery. A pilot device (TRL8) will restore around 90% of the battery’s initial capacity.
- The implementation of an electrical pulse regeneration process at cell level and an associated diagnostic tool for Li-ion batteries. This process will require the regeneration environment to be made safe in order to reduce any form of risk.
To carry out its project, BE ENERGY will be working with leading-edge subcontractors, including CEA-Liten, whose expertise in batteries is well established, and the CNRS.
Winner of the i-Nov 2021 competition in the “Circular Economy” category, BE ENERGY can now co-finance its research and development project on the regeneration of NiMH and Li-ion batteries with :
- A strong vector for territorial resilience
- Significant environmental and social repercussions (creation of a circular economy around battery regeneration)
- The creation of new jobs
- The reduction of hazardous waste
- CO2 reduction linked to the manufacture of new batteries
1 European Commission, Study on the EU’s list of Critical Raw Materials – Final Report (2020)