Turning Norwegian Sawdust Into Environmentally Sustainable Batteries

EU’s Green Deal

Supplying clean, affordable, and secure energy, increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050 and accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility are key sustainability goals under the Green Deal and Blue Economy. 

Energy storage is a key technological enabler to drive the transition towards a decarbonised society, by integration of renewable and clean energy in the electricity grid and contributing to electrification of transport. Due to the limitations of conventional batteries (cost, limited lifetime, safety, sustainability), there is now a strong demand for sustainable, safe and hybrid storage solutions with both high power and increased energy densities.

This is where Beyonder comes into play.

When we learned that they are working on the use of sawdust for the production of batteries, we had to include a visit with the Sustainable Tour. We tell you everything below.

Beyonder’s mission

Beyonder’s mission is to accelerate and enable the pace of electrification with its environmentally sustainable and more efficient high-power energy storage technology. With a patented process to transform sawdust into active carbon, it is the world’s first true sustainable battery cell technology which will serve a broad range of applications in the booming energy market. Beyonder’s overall ambition is to become a leading and global manufacturer of environmentally sustainable power battery cells.

Obinna Egwu Eleri, PhD-student at University in Stavanger, working in Beyonder’s own lab in Sandnes, Norway.

The Innovation

Beyonder has developed a hybrid energy-storage technology – Li-ion capacitor – incorporating the benefits of lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. It is based on sawdust residues from the Norwegian forestry industry and silicon from sand. The result is a battery with higher power, high energy, ultra-fast charging, long lifetime, and improved safety. Not least – it is more cost effective and more sustainable than any existing comparable technologies.

This hybrid storage technology will suit many applications where conventional batteries are not powerful enough or too expensive in their total cost of ownership, with the potential to revolutionize the energy world. 

Applications for this technology are within renewable energy and grid operations, heavy transportation, electric vehicles, and the maritime industry. Within the maritime industry, Beyonder’s solution will be an important contribution to electrification of ferries and other maritime vessels. This will significantly help reduce the emissions that goes directly out in the ocean in addition to being a driver for environmental sustainability and decarbonisation.

Beyonder uses water-based solvents, sawdust derived carbon and silicon composite in their cells instead of cobalt and nickel, and the production process runs on clean, renewable energy. Safety is also a priority for Beyonder, and their battery cells are significantly less prone to self-ignition and burn, countering a major safety hazard of conventional Li-ion batteries. 

Circular Climate Forest

The sawdust used for the active carbon comes from sawmill by-products from the Norwegian forestry industry. 

Beyonder is collaborating with Trefadder which is a Norwegian company specialising in the capturing of carbon by planting new trees and climate forests. The added CO2 capturing capacity is guaranteed with a long term, 100% transparent, and traceable value chain.

Trefadder will provide the plant species from which Beyonder will produce their activated carbon. This will result in a mutually beneficial collaboration, as Trefadder will be able to expand their long-term innovation work for the comprehensive utilisation of trees. Through forest management, they remove trees that have not been given optimal growth conditions. These trees would normally be left in the forest to rot, but through the partnership with Beyonder, they will become raw materials in the batteries, providing both carbon capture and storage as well as creating the world’s first fully circular climate forest.

By using this wood-derived activated carbon cathode, Beyonder’s battery can operate at a higher specific power and is significantly more durable than conventional Li-ion batteries.

Anders Kristiansen – General Manager of Trefadder, and Kristin Skofteland – Chief Commercial Officer and Legal Councel in Beyonder.

Hybrid EneRgy stOragE Stations (HEROES) Horizon 2020 project

Electric cars are increasingly popular and are expected to be an important part of Europe’s low-carbon transport system. However, inadequate infrastructure for fast and widespread charging is a challenge that must be solved before the EU can fully invest in electric cars.

HEROES is a new project funded under Horizon 2020. The objective of the project is fast and efficient charging of electric cars. HEROES will develop and prove a hybrid high-power/high-energy stationary storage system for fast charging of electric vehicles to be used in medium-size charging stations connected to the low voltage grids, without the need to invest in improving the grid power.

Horizon 2020 is EU’s instrument for implementing initiatives aimed at driving economic growth and create jobs, securing Europe’s global competitiveness. By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with emphasis on science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. 

Beyonder will lead a consortium consisting of ten European partners with the aim of developing an energy storage system for fast charging of electric vehicles. Participants in the HEROES consortium are the Institute for Energy Technology, Siemens AG, ElringKlinger, Lithium Balance, Bestoraged, ENSO, Sustainable Innovations, European Association for Storage of Energy, and Aalborg University. 

The consortium covers the full value chain of energy storage from technology providers to system integrators and end-users, placing the consortium in an excellent position to develop scientific and technological breakthroughs in the field, as well as seeing market opportunities that arise from novel users. The HEROES project will have a strong impact on Europe’s energy storage sector, employment, and global industrial competitiveness.

To Sustainability and Beyond

Beyonder’s hybrid energy-storage technology will help accelerate the shift to environmentally sustainable and smart mobility and will be a key enabler to drive the transition towards a decarbonised society.

For more info visit beyonder.no