Skeleton Technologies, a developer of curved graphene-based supercapacitor and battery energy storage, officially launched its SuperBattery (earlier post), and announced Shell as a partner. Skeleton is joining a Shell-led consortium to offer electrification solutions for mining sites. (Earlier post.)
SuperBattery combines the characteristics of supercapacitors and batteries. SuperBattery has been developed to serve the needs of several sectors and is currently being used and/or tested in hybrid and fuel cell EVs, buses, trucks, and charging infrastructure.
Skeleton goes after the high-power part of the energy storage market and we estimate the addressable market size to be €95 billion. Now, the key is to move ahead with the scale-up and we aim to develop our business around SuperBattery through key partners such as Shell.—Taavi Madiberk, CEO and co-founder of Skeleton Technologies
Decarbonization in mining largely relies upon electrification and renewables, which are the best way to reduce operational emissions. Electrification of heavy-duty applications is both a necessity and a major challenge for the mining industry.
The nine-member consortium, including Skeleton and Shell, has come together to introduce Shell’s Mining Electrification Solutions for Off-Road Vehicles – announced in May 2022 as one of the 8 winners of the mining industry’s ‘Charge On Innovation Challenge’, from more than 350 entries.
The haul truck is not the only electrification effort in the mine—energy storage such as SuperBattery can also be used in stabilizing the grid of mines or to electrify wheel loaders and other machinery. The drive for high safety and power combined with high lifetime makes an optimal use profile for SuperBattery.
The solution is an end-to-end and interoperable electrification system that reduces emissions without compromising on efficiency or safety, whilst aiming to be cost competitive versus diesel-powered operations. The pilot offering combines ultra-fast charging with Skeleton’s new SuperBattery, in-vehicle energy storage, and power provisioning and microgrids.
Over the next 7 years, the mining sector represents a multi-billion revenue opportunity for Skeleton. This is not only driven by decarbonization, but by tangible economic benefits for our customers. Skeleton is focused on reducing emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors. But we cannot achieve it alone, we can only do it with partners. Close collaboration with Shell is key for us, with potential going way beyond mining applications.—Taavi Madiberk
SuperBattery combines several advantages which make it a fit for Shell’s Mining Electrification Solutions for Off-Road Vehicles. Skeleton’s patented Curved Graphene material allows for 100 x faster charging compared to standard Lithium-ion batteries. Used in off-road vehicles, SuperBattery can be charged in less than a minute, therefore requiring much less charging time spent per day: less than an hour, whereas 6.5 hours are needed with a lithium-ion battery. More time can therefore be spent on mining, and less on charging.
SuperBattery has 50,000 life cycles, and is free from cobalt, copper, nickel and graphite. It is also much safer than a lithium-ion battery, even when crushed, overheated, or pierced.
SuperBattery fills the technology gap in the energy storage market, delivering peak power and fast charging, and is best suited for applications below 30 minutes because of lower cost and footprint. The start of mass production is planned for 2024.
Shell Mining works across the entire mining value chain—from hauling to processing and beyond—to identify and develop decarbonization strategies, pathways and solutions that help unlock efficient operations and sustainable practices.