Can you tell us a bit about the AI tool that Ziptrax has developed, segregating the usable Li-ion cells from the damaged ones?
Ziptrax Battery Intelligence is a cloud-based real-time monitoring and predictive analytics SaaS, developed for EV & ESS batteries and works with both new and used batteries. The company’s AI tech is the tool used for battery monitoring, lifecycle management, sorting & re-grouping as well as for auditing & buy back options.
Your company gives Li-ion batteries a second life by recycling them. Doesn’t that too become waste after a point after its second life is over? What is your insight on the e-waste created then?
By giving lithium-ion battery packs a life extension or second life, we have been able to offset GHG emissions for the same amount of battery production, which would have been released into the atmosphere had new batteries been produced. Retiring EV & ESS batteries around 80% State of Health (SoH) means the battery still has the potential for re-utilisation for at least two to five years (depending on the condition). After the second or third use, the battery reaches the end-of-life condition (dead scrap) and we have a closed-loop process to recycle them for battery materials, like cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite, etc.
Ziptrax was one of the participants in the Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE 2020) summit. What are the biggest ethical issues when it comes to AI? How can they be worked on?
Proprietary data security and decision-making by AI-tech is the biggest ethical issue while considering safety & security of battery assets. To overcome these ethical issues, one should secure the data on the cloud servers as well as the data stored on the battery packs, which can lead to prevention of any data theft and hacking into battery systems.
Your company is looking at building a pilot facility that will recycle 1200 tonnes of Li-ion battery materials annually. Can you tell us your strategy to go about this? By when do you see your start-up achieving this target?
We have developed a two-stage direct + hydrometallurgy recycling process and stage one pilot (300 MTA) is currently operational. For the stage two pilot facility, we are actively fundraising $0.5 million this financial year and are in discussion with multiple strategic partners to further integrate with global battery materials supply chains. We expect to start stage three pilot (Li-ion cathode production) by 2022 with further investments planned for commercial scale production as well.
Ziptrax is new to the EV sector, having been found just four years ago. What is your action-plan for it as we enter the next year?
Our vision is to develop the circular economy for Li-ion batteries, the mainstream energy storage option over the past decade and continue their rise in the next 10 years into applications, such as electric vehicles, consumer electronics and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). We will set-up & operationalise our 1200 MTA battery recycling facility in 2021, paving the way for the commercial scale facility.