Combining seven variants of modules with a choice of battery cell chemistry, a new “turnkey” modular battery system from technology firm Xerotech is promising to revolutionize the construction equipment market by offering manufacturers a flexible, scalable battery pack that can go in — well, just about everything!
The battery packs’ main advantage comes from the flexibility of the design, which — yeah, it can be worked into just about any class of construction equipment, with one battery pack platform being scalable from 15kWh to 250kWh in increments of 2kWh, which makes it suitable for everything from NEVs to 400-ton dump trucks — but there’s more to it than that. The real trick here is that Xerotech claims it can offer hundreds of battery pack configurations using the same manufacturing lines, processes, and tooling, enabling the factory making these to be able to quickly respond to a manufacturers’ needs and market demands. What’s more, because the packs are “cell agnostic,” the company can rapidly switch between cells as resource conditions change and new cell technology emerges.
If that all sounds super smart to you, you’re not alone. Xerotech’s engineers have won a number of awards for this technology, including a €10,000 innovation prize from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology that I’m mentioning because it has some great quotes in it. “Xerotech’s solution is an integrated power conversion and storage module which has triple the run-time and double the cooling capacity of existing battery solutions,” explains Dr. Barry Flannery, CEO of Xerotech. “Like Tesla, Xerotech have designed a completely new approach to electric power systems. The system is completely silent, produces no emissions, and (could) pay for itself within 18 months.”
Xerotech will be marketing these battery packs under the “Hibernium” name, which will encompass the entire “battery pack system,” including a proprietary liquid thermal management and safety technology which prevents overheating of the batteries during the kinds of extended, “round-the-clock” use they’ll see in emergency response sites (for example).
The Ireland-based company’s batteries will be undergoing public trials within European mining and construction operations this summer, where Xerotech says that a number of battery-powered loaders, drilling jumbos, and shotcrete spraying rigs will put the Hibernium batteries to the real-world test.
What do you guys think? I know I love the idea of job sites that are quieter, cleaner, and generally safer to be around — and I’m sure a lot of you would agree. Still, I’m curious how this might compete with the electric construction equipment, batteries used by Sun Car and Proterra — and I’m always surprised by the clarity of thought that I usually find in CleanTechnica‘s comments sections, so I can’t wait to read about all the angles to this thing I might have missed.