The development of a new battery concept based on the principles of eco-design and circular economy begins

The Bideko project will develop eco-designed batteries to reduce their potential environmental impact throughout their life cycle

GAIKER Technology Centre, a member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA, is participating in the BIDEKO project (Biodegradable and compostable batteries for precision agriculture and decentralized energy systems), which seeks to develop a new battery concept based on the principles of eco-design and circular economy. Batteries will be designed and manufactured to ensure optimal use of resources while reducing their potential environmental impact throughout their life cycle.

Since the 19th century, batteries have evolved into the tiny energy supply devices we know today. Due to their wide range of applications and portability, they are present in a variety of devices such as laptops, telephones, medical devices and toys. The boom in new technological and digital devices is expected to grow exponentially, with estimates ranging from 25 to 50 billion devices by 2025. All of them with a need for energy autonomy to which batteries will have to respond in a more efficient and sustainable way.

Although rechargeable batteries appear to be the most sustainable solution, many applications do not allow for reusability, such as disposable diagnostic devices, sensors in remote locations, etc. In addition, new applications in sectors such as wearables and medical devices require batteries to be adapted to sizes and factors that make them even more difficult to recycle, as it is much more difficult to separate the battery from the device, which aggravates the environmental impact associated with the generation of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Faced with this situation, the BIDEKO project (2021-2024) is anticipating this WEEE management problem with a disruptive approach that radically changes the current paradigm of primary batteries from a toxic waste to a reusable source of raw material that can even nourish the soil or restore natural systems. In BIDEKO all materials used as electrodes, electrolytes or structural components will be non-toxic and will be selected to meet specific end-of-life requirements and safe and scalable manufacturing.

GAIKER will be responsible, throughout this research, for selecting the most suitable materials and for manufacturing the battery casing. For this purpose, it will evaluate the most suitable biodegradable materials and select efficient and scalable manufacturing methods for the battery casings and integration of the collector elements.