Circu Li-ion: Making E-Bikes And E-Scooters More Sustainable Through Battery Upcycling

Antoine Welter and Dr.Xavier Kohll, co-founders of Circu Li-ion (Photo © Circu Li-ion)

Circu Li-ion provides micromobility and recycling companies with an innovative battery upcycling solution. Antoine Welter, Co-Founder & CEO, explains how the Luxembourgish startup’s technology improves the way its clients operate by making them greener and saving costs.

What is your core service?

At Circu Li-ion, we provide companies that have a large number of batteries from electric vehicles (EVs), such as e-bikes or e-scooters, with an upcycling solution that helps them extend the lifecycle and value of their used batteries. We have developed a machine that dismantles batteries into their components, enabling an economical reuse.

With our technology, we upcycle a maximum of components possible as well as enhance the further recycling process of batteries. Our service enables our clients to reduce their carbon emissions and save money.

What makes your service unique?

More than 80% of a used EV battery’s cells could have a second life. Led by Circu Li-ion’s Co-Founder & CTO, Xavier Kohll, our engineering team has developed a fully automated process that disassembles and diagnoses each battery, so that cells can be reused at an industrial scale.

Until now, upcycling batteries from EVs has been a highly manual and expensive process that only specialized waste management companies could provide. What makes Circu Li-ion’s approach unique is that it is a highly scalable solution in an exponentially growing market.

Our clients can integrate our solution into their operations by installing our machine on their sites or using one of our service partners. This enables them to make longer use of their batteries, reducing their CO2 footprint significantly while lowering their operating costs.

“We constantly expand our offering to more segments of the EV market as well as any other industry that is heavily reliant on batteries.”

Antoine Welter, Co-Founder & CEO of Circu Li-ion

How big is the market you are tackling?

Our global economy is in the process of becoming fully electrified to reduce CO2 emissions. However, this goal will only be reached if we maximize each battery cell’s full potential.

To roll out our solution, we are initially focusing our efforts on the fast-growing micromobility industry, in particular the providers of e-bikes and e-scooters. Research reports estimate that between 2020 and 2023, 130 million e-bikes will have been sold worldwide. Additionally, we are targeting last-mile logistics vehicles, including those of quick commerce startups.

The service providers in these sectors are in high demand for a sustainable solution for the large number of batteries they use. Overall, experts expect up to 2.5 million tons of batteries and battery materials per year that need to get up- and recycled just in Europe by 2040 – so there is significant growth potential for what we offer.

What are your biggest achievements so far?

Since we started working on Circu Li-ion in 2021, we have raised a pre-seed financing round from successful European business angels, hired our core engineering team, and have developed our service to reach the last stage of the so-called “technology readiness level” (TRL).

This means that our solution is ready to be commercialized. As of now, we have onboarded our first clients from the micromobility and recycling sectors and are also part of the Fit4Start acceleration program by LuxInnovation.

What are your future plans?

Our vision is to fight the climate crisis by maximizing the lifecycle of each battery cell in the market.

To turn this into reality, we are rolling out our solution with existing clients in 2022 and are in discussions with some of the major players in the sectors we are targeting to initiate further pilot projects.

We will constantly expand our offering to more segments of the EV market as well as any other industry that is heavily reliant on batteries.

This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read the full digital version of the magazine on our website, here. You can also choose to receive a hard copy at the office or at home. Subscribe now.

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