31 January 2022 Sustainable batteries based on proprietary electrochemistry We interviewed Andrey Shigaev, the CEO and co-founder of Geyser Batteries as one of the award winners from Tech Tour’s programmes in 2021. Andrey is one of the entrepreneurs who will take part in Future22. In case you are interested in meeting him, join him and more than 100 top tech entrepreneurs on 22-25 March, online. You can register for Future22 here. Q: Tell us more about your current position and company. AS: I am Andrey Shigaev, the CEO and co-founder of Geyser Batteries. Geyser Batteries is a Finnish cleantech company that develops and manufactures safe and sustainable power batteries based on our proprietary electrochemistry and aqueous electrolytes. Q: What keeps you up at night? AS: I tend to sleep very well, thank you. But I do get excited thinking about the changes that the future of the energy sector is about to bring to our everyday lives, and what role Geyser Batteries may play in this. The potential of our smart and flexible energy storage technology is still yet to be realized, enabling electrification with no power limits, making the safe and robust transient energy storage a built-in capability of buildings and mechanisms, which in turn would allow the use of the most abundant, cheap, and sustainable energy sources minimizing requirements to their power quality. Q: Tell us about your product? What problem is it solving and what makes your solution unique? AS: The heart of Geyser Batteries’ innovation is in its patented and proprietary electrochemical technology, which is a successful combination of a battery and a supercapacitor in one single electrochemical system. Geyser makes battery cells that combine the best of the two: with the energy density at the level of high-power Li-ion batteries, Geyser Batteries’ products keep working through up to 10-100 more charge-discharge cycles with high-power characteristics kept stable over time. Geyser Batteries' technology is not only functionally superior in its target sector but is uniquely sustainable too. We use water-based electrolytes instead of highly flammable and toxic organic electrolytes. Because we use water, our manufacturing process is simple and does not have any energy-intensive phases like drying. We do not use metallic electrodes (no cobalt, nickel or other scarce or otherwise conflict materials). We do not seal individual cells. These factors bring our carbon footprint to the lowest possible level, unattainable for other competing technologies. Geyser Batteries is not only making cells but goes higher up the value chain, offering complete battery modules that can be used directly by our end users. Q: How did you start your journey and where are you now on the road to achieving your ambition? AS: Geyser Batteries was established in 2018, but our innovation dates over 20 years back. Our current CTO and co-founder, Dr Alexei Beliakov, has done a significant career in electrochemistry especially in the energy storage sector, and our power batteries are an invention of him and his team. The major shift in the development trajectory happened when we met in 2017 to realize the scale and breadth of global impact that our technology may have on the transition to the electric future. What seemed to be just a better version of a supercapacitor, turned out to be a qualitatively different product with a much wider and more impactful range of applications, capable of enabling the use of renewable energy at an unprecedented scale. My part is mainly on the operative and management side of the company, and together with my team of 17 professionals in electrochemistry and business development, we are working towards commercializing our solution. With a solid pipeline of customer projects, we plan to establish experimental automated production facilities in Finland later this year, and it will be the first step towards making our products the primary choice for the global high-power energy storage market. Q: Can you share a story of a client using your product/service and what influence it had on them? AS: However, our pilot users have been most impressed by the compact size of our batteries compared to their power density. Likewise, the maintenance-free use and durability have been appreciated. Briefly put, achieving the 1.5° climate goal is not about the generation of renewable energy; it is about the integration, distribution, and most of all THE STORAGE, as renewable energy is not always generated when and where it is needed. Renewable energy generation weakens the power grid, as it does not provide the system inertia to cope with major power fluctuations, which makes it more vulnerable to disturbances and blackouts. Energy storage can address the major pain points and is therefore rightfully considered as the most effective multiplier/accelerator of the renewable energy transition – and an ultimate enabler to limit global warming to 1.5°. Geyser Batteries’ products are ideal for stationary applications and, above all, power grid stabilization tasks. The other suitable use-cases would be hybrid powertrains (incl. those built with internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells and even solid-state li-ion batteries), and opportunity-charged transport. Geyser Batteries offer energy storage capabilities that rival batteries by withstanding millions of recharge cycles at high power levels and providing longer-lasting energy than super- and ultra-capacitors. This makes our batteries unique for a wide range of power grid applications with operating timescales ranging from seconds to hours. Q: What is your company’s biggest achievement to date? AS: We have had many, and we also want to celebrate the small daily victories in our work and to encourage our team to reach even higher, whatever their role in the company. One of the most recent acknowledged achievements was winning the start-up track of the New Energy Challenge organized by Shell, Rockstart and Yes! Delft. This competition expanded our partnership network significantly and has brought us a lot of positive visibility as it leads to a proof of concept with Shell. Q: What was the tipping point that made you a doer and impacted your vision? AS: Probably there is not a single moment to put my finger on, but as the conversation about climate change has increased and become more severe, I have also become more aware of it. Indeed, the time to act is now. Our batteries can do their share to increase the use of renewable energy and provide mankind with a sustainable and safe energy storage solution. Q: How do you see your company making a difference in the future? AS: Geyser Batteries is being built with a mission to enable sustainable and inclusive electrification. Our batteries create a positive impact by having an enabling role for the transition to a 100% renewables-based grid, and for the use of other safe and sustainable energy storage that, unlike us, is lacking power and/or cycling capability, but provides long-term energy storage. Q: How is the current situation impacting your business? AS: Luckily, we have not been heavily impacted by the current pandemics. Of course, the lack of face-to-face contact somewhat slows down our development. Furthermore, we have experienced difficulties in logistics as it becomes increasingly difficult to source materials and components, and sometimes we need to wait for weeks for re-supply of warehouse stocks. However, we have been overall able to continue on the right track towards commercializing our innovation. Q: How did Tech Tour help you on your journey? What is most the most useful part of our programmes for you? AS: Tech Tour has been very helpful on our journey. We have had the honour to pitch in front of and together with some remarkable companies, and gain visibility that we otherwise would not. Our warmest thanks to all the team at Tech Tour for your great work!