DB Bahnbau Group and car manufacturer Kia are turning used electric car batteries into powerful energy storage units for green power. NOVUM takes over the battery diagnosis. In this interview, Ilma Bojadzic, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy at encore | DB — a product of the DB Bahnbau Group, tells us how this came about and why NOVUM’s technology is indispensable for the project.
Ilma, how did the idea even come about that Deutsche Bahn could operate its own battery storage systems from used vehicle batteries?
The idea was born in 2019 during my trainee program at DB and was further developed in DB’s internal startup program, DB Intrapreneurs.
Can you tell us something about the current project status? How many storage facilities are planned and what capacity will they provide?
We are currently in the process of setting up series production of our battery storage systems and will commission several megawatt hours of capacity in 2023.
Why is the topic of battery storage particularly important for Deutsche Bahn?
DB has a lot of infrastructure that needs to be electrified. These include, for example, maintenance plants, train stations and office buildings. Our battery storage systems are designed to optimize the self-consumption of PV systems and reduce electricity costs. Resource conservation is very important to DB. That is why we will also give batteries that are in use at DB, e.g. in battery-electric trains or hybrid locomotives, a second life as battery storage.
And why is NOVUM’s technology so critical to your innovative project?
For a large part of the batteries we receive from the manufacturers, we do not know how good they still are and how long we can still use them. NOVUM’s technology helps us get the information we need about the batteries.
How did you find NOVUM?
One of our partners brought NOVUM to our attention and connected us with the team. It was a good fit right from the start and we are glad that we could rely on our good network once again and that we found a reliable partner in NOVUM.
What do you particularly appreciate about working with NOVUM?
The helpfulness in different areas. If there are challenges, help is provided quickly and without complications.