Eco Innovation

British electronics innovators fly the flag for UK tech industry

23rd January 2024
Paige West

Two UK-based technology companies are collaborating with a Nigerian supplier to innovate the recycling process of electric vehicle batteries at their end of life.

In2tec Ltd and AceOn Group have formed a partnership to enhance AceOn’s portable power generators and mini-grid systems, targeting areas with limited access to electricity, such as Nigeria and other regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With assistance from Liverpool John Moores University and Nevadic Solar, a prominent supplier of solar products in Nigeria, along with funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, their goal is to repurpose batteries from electric vehicles that have completed their life cycle. They plan to create interchangeable powerpacks to supply electricity to remote areas.

In2tec, located in Northamptonshire, has over 25 years in the electronics industry, specialising in electronics that are up to 100% recyclable. Its products are used in various industries, including automotive, science, medical, and entertainment.

Shropshire's AceOn specialises in the design and assembly of custom-built battery packs and distributing industrial and consumer batteries globally. With 30 years in the battery industry, AceOn has extensive knowledge of different battery chemistries and has supplied thousands of battery packs across various industries.

Dr Mark Hudman, Development & Engineering Director at In2tec, stated: “Working with a fellow prestigious UK based technology company allows us to once again prove that the UK is a centre for electronics innovation and the specialist development of sustainable technologies. Developing this technology is not only beneficial for UK industry, but also retains a humanitarian perspective. Getting these off-grid systems to areas such as Nigeria, Botswana and other counties in the Sub-Saharan Africa territories gives electricity to those who really need it including hospitals, schools, and homes.”

The batteries removed from electric vehicles will be used in AceOn’s new swappable powerpacks for portable, mobile, mini, and stationary energy systems. The HIGHESS project aims to provide a stable electricity supply to rural and underserved areas, reducing the energy access gap and addressing poverty affecting over 600 million people due to limited electricity availability.

In2tec contributes a bespoke Battery Management System (BMS) to the project, which monitors battery charge and discharge. Using In2tec’s patented ReUSE PCBA and ReCYCLE technology, the BMS can be fully recycled or easily repaired.

In2tec's ReUSE and ReCYCLE are part of a closed-loop process allowing the reuse of components from electronics at the end of their life.

Mark Thompson, CEO at AceOn Group, commented: “Working with the team at In2tec has been a very easy process, we both have a similar way of thinking which despite being in adjacent industries really helps make the process seamless. We are two established British companies flying the flag for the UK for design, engineering, and the electronics industry. Showcasing our innovative solutions and more excitingly using ReUSE electronics within our second life battery products is really taking another exciting USP for both companies whilst delivering our passion around the circular economy for e-waste and batteries.”

Dr Hudman added: “We’re really excited about the possibilities AceOn Energy Storage systems can bring. It’s a fantastic demonstration of the technical skills and innovative ideas coming out of the UK tech industry. Both In2tec and AceOn are leading the way for the rest of the industry to develop sustainable technologies that bring circularity to the manufacturing process, not only reducing the levels of e-waste production but also improving the lives of those less fortunate overseas.”

The project aims to rapidly increase access to affordable off-grid electricity from clean energy sources, targeting the global mini-grid market to provide affordable energy access for social mobility and inclusion in communities outside main power grids.

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