COP26 – Efficient battery tech crucial for green future

The drive to improve battery technology in electric cars and in a host of other applications is ever increasing, and with COP26 taking place, this demand is only set to rise further.

Eatron Technologies, based at the University of Warwick Science Park, develops intelligent automotive grade software which can significantly increase battery efficiency, and demand has already seen the firm quadruple in size in under a year.

Dr Umut Genc, Managing Director of Eatron Technologies, explains how his firm is helping facilitate this rapid change towards an electric future:

“The push towards electrification in our society continues to accelerate, with huge demand for electric vehicles now being seen all over the world.

“The UK is committing heavily to electric vehicle infrastructure, and US President Joe Biden recently announced he was pushing for half of all vehicle sales in his country to be electric by 2030. Asia is also looking towards electrification.

“At the moment, there are two key pinch points for take-up of electric vehicles – the proliferation of fast-charging points on a road network, and the efficiency of their batteries.

“If we can increase battery performance and efficiency, vehicle manufacturers will be able to build more electric vehicles that last longer and are more reliable, which should increase consumer confidence and encourage more take-up.

“We want to get to the point where a driver has no anxiety about getting behind the wheel of an electric car and running out of charge in the middle of a journey. At the moment, that is a major concern for a lot of drivers, and as such a lot of electric vehicle owners only use their cars for short journeys.

“While we may have to rely on the government and other businesses in the private sector to improve charging networks, we are pushing hard to increase battery performance and efficiency via intelligent software and allow electric vehicles to go further than ever before.

“Electric vehicles and alternatives to internal combustion engines will be in the spotlight during COP26, and we expect demand for efficient batteries to increase even more during and after the summit.

“And while automotive sector remains our biggest customers by far, we are seeing new applications for battery technology benefit from our software solutions.

“We are seeing stationary power applications, such as generators, needing to be battery powered rather than using fuel.

“Solar panels that generate excess energy on particularly sunny days need reliable batteries to store that extra energy in so it can be harnessed on cloudier days – a common problem in the UK!

“And in telecoms, GSM antennas are moving away from using old-fashioned lead acid batteries and are adopting modern lithium-ion batteries which last much longer and can be recharged far more easily.

“As a firm working at the forefront of battery management technology, I’ll admit there is a little bit of pressure to get our products right and find breakthroughs. We know battery safety, performance and efficiency are all bottlenecks that are preventing rapid acceptance, so any kind of progress to ease that bottleneck could be crucial in the fight against climate change.

“What’s good is that our own government, and governments in other countries, are supporting us in our endeavours. And we hope further support will come now COP26 is happening.

“For our part, our business has a salary sacrifice scheme which has allowed our staff to drive electric cars out of their gross pay, which means it comes before tax and has helped them make a greener choice for less money than if they bought an EV themselves.

“And being based at the Science Park allows us to take advantage of the University of Warwick’s connections and graduate programmes, as well as the automotive expertise of the region in general, to drive even more innovation.

“Ultimately, we are here to help any company that utilises batteries do so in a safer and more efficient way, saving them money and making them greener at the same time.

“We are confident COP26 and the direction of travel in the industry will see even greater pushes towards mainstream adoption of batteries in all sorts of sectors – not just the automotive industry – and we at Eatron Technologies will be at the heart of it.”