Singapore-based Anzene, a startup that develops smart battery packs, aims to create a green energy movement by storing clean energy in a smart IoT battery. The battery pack, also known as an energy block, can power mobile devices and consumer electronics.
KrASIA spoke with the startup’s co-founder, Joshua Sunny Chuah, to find out more about the clean energy battery pack.
This interview has been consolidated and edited for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): How did the idea of setting up Anzene come about?
Joshua Sunny Chuah (JC): Anzene was founded in 2019, and it all started with the idea of solving the issue of exploding battery packs. Back then, my co-founders and I saw how battery packs in the market were experiencing such issues. There was a spate of exploding batteries in personal mobility devices around the world. We wanted to tackle this issue and decided to create the world’s first explosion-proof battery pack, or what we call an energy block.
Over the years, our business also evolved to incorporate smart battery practices into our products.
Kr: How is your battery pack “explosion-proof”?
JC: We believe that fire hazards in battery packs are almost unpreventable. But the more important question is: how do we prevent such fires from escalating into explosions? This is the premise of our product hardware design to prevent fires.
So far, 99% of companies in the energy pack industry have put in place protective software measures to prevent fires and explosions. Most of their products do not have hardware features that can put out fires; they are merely fire preventive measures. For example, software algorithms that prevent overcharging of devices.
By contrast, our belief is that such software measures are not sufficient. Our energy block combines hardware and software protective measures to put out fires in the event that they occur so that explosions will not happen. Furthermore, our short-circuit protection ensures that our energy block does not overcharge or overheat, resulting in longer battery life.
In short, we are pushing the limits in terms of the safety features of the battery pack. For example, we have developed six hardware features in addition to the software protection of our energy block to prevent fires. One is our self-fire extinguishing feature that puts out fires to prevent the occurrence of an explosion. Essentially, our explosion-proof energy block comes with a detachable automatic fire extinguisher.
Kr: Can you elaborate on the smart features of your energy block?
JC: Our battery pack is not just the world’s first explosion-proof battery. It is also a smart modular personal battery that you can bring with you anywhere.
The primary smart feature of our smart battery pack is that it can be used to track battery health. With this information, users can better manage the battery pack more effectively, especially during the end of its life cycle.
Currently, there aren’t many smart battery packs on the market. They are mostly hardware battery packs that do not allow users to know their service life. By contrast, as we are able to ascertain the battery health of our smart energy block, it facilitates an effective upcycling of the battery pack.
The smart energy block can also update users on the type of stored energy it contains, whether clean energy or conventional energy.
On top of this, our energy block contains IoT features that can determine the exact location of the battery pack, as well as a mobile app interface for end users.
Kr: Share with us your business model.
JC: We work with our franchisees to sell our smart battery pack to end consumers. This is a B2B2C model through which we sell our hardware. We are also exploring a potential B2B play by providing our patented fire extinguishing technology for safety critical customers for automotive or electrical appliances.
At the same time, we earn a commission when our end consumers use and store clean energy in our battery packs. Essentially, we are providing a service to consumers as a clean energy platform, something that we are moving towards.
Kr: What do you think is a major challenge in the energy storage service (ESS) industry today?
JC: One major challenge in the industry is that ESS solutions are driven mostly by B2B users and are not end-user-friendly. Even at their smallest size, most ESS solutions are available in a 20- or 40-foot container size.
Essentially, there’s a gap in the market that needs to be filled, and we are trying to evolve our business model to deploy our energy storage services to end users. To achieve this, we would have to make energy storage solutions more modular, whereby end-consumers can benefit directly from clean energy generation and storage.
In a nutshell, we are looking to create energy storage solutions that are compact enough for end consumers to power up and use their everyday electronic devices and carry around.
Kr: What are your future plans?
JC: First, we will push for the use of our energy blocks as a portable power source of clean energy for as many consumers as possible. Our vision is to build an ecosystem of users of our energy blocks, especially for their personal mobile devices.
While clean energy is not a new concept, the storage of clean energy presents a major challenge. Many solar and green energy investments don’t just benefit end users to date, and we want to change this. With our energy blocks that are portable, we hope to encourage people to generate clean energy and store it conveniently.
We want to create an ecosystem for end users to have a personal clean energy platform. It is about building a B2C ecosystem where our end users can generate clean energy easily in their homes to be stored in our energy blocks to power up their home appliances or personal mobility devices.
The second thing that we aim to do is put our designs in traditional home appliances. For example, over the past few years, there have been incidents where houses have caught fire due to the overcharging of home appliances. We want to implement our safety designs into household appliances. We will release more news on this development in 4Q 2022.