Blue solutions, moving towards more electric mobility!
Formed in 2013 and quoted on the stock market that same year, Blue Solutions is the fruit of 20 years' investment by the Bolloré Group in research on the LMP® battery. It required an investment of €2 billion to develop this quite unique ‘solid-state’ Lithium-Metal-Polymer battery that is revolutionizing storage, an essential building block in the energy transition. But the company does not intend to stop there. Eventually it also aims to enter the electric car market.
Safety, energy density and performance are the three competitive advantages of Blue Solutions LMP® batteries. In particular they are not affected by high external temperatures and do not need any air conditioning. In fact it was in Africa that the company started deploying the first stationary applications of this battery in 2014, with mini-grids, demonstrating the contribution that electricity can make to local economic development.
Blue Solutions has also entered the mobility market, as the first manufacturer of 100% French electric buses with its 6 to 12-metre Bluebuses, thereby ensuring two complementary activities for its battery plants.
European leader in batteries for electric buses
On an e-mobility market 90% dominated by Asian batteries, Blue Solutions is the European leader in batteries for electric buses, a high-growth market that currently represents more than 100,000 electric buses worldwide, primarily in China. “We design and build our own electric buses and shuttles. 100% French, they are produced in our plant near Quimper in Brittany.
In parallel we also sell our batteries to manufacturers.” explains Olivier Colas, director of development in the Bolloré Group's Stationary division. 300 Blue Solutions electric buses, over 100 of which for RATP (the Paris city transport authority), are currently on the road worldwide. Gaussin, a company making materials handling vehicles, has also opted for Blue Solutions batteries for its port tractors, sold primarily in Africa and Asia. “Our client needed a solution to reduce the fuel consumption of its heavy vehicles. It had experimented with various battery technologies, but they were unfit for purpose in the climatic conditions of its sites, whereas our LMP® battery works in all temperatures, including in extreme heat. Gaussin thus eliminated the fuel expenses of its heavy vehicles, but more importantly their pollution”. Other projects are on track for Blue Solutions, for instance with manufacturer Daimler, which is currently testing the Blue Solutions technology for its buses.
Towards a new generation of solid-state batteries for sustainable mobility!
Europe has realized that it must master battery technology for electric cars. For Olivier Colas: “Given that batteries represent 30 to 40% of the value of an electric car and that 90% of the market is controlled by Asian companies, there are real geo-strategic issues at stake. European experts now consider that the future of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars will be the so-called GEN4 solid-state metal Lithium technology”. Therefore, after its success with electric buses, Blue Solutions is studying the possibility of breaking into the electric car batteries market by capitalizing on its quite unique mastery of solid-state metal Lithium technology.
Stationary and mini-grid: providing access to energy for everyone
The stationary energy storage market is rapidly expanding throughout the world, alongside the renewable energies market, the intermittence of which it offsets.
For instance, two years ago Blue Solutions set up fifteen or so cinemas and theatres in more than 10 countries in Africa. The batteries store the electricity generated during the day by solar panels for the shows in the evening. The buildings are thus totally self-sufficient in energy. The projects are designed, implemented and operated from A to Z by Blue Solutions. “We are also working with partners on a number of mini-grid programmes. They provide energy to numerous African villages, each having several thousand inhabitants. These programmes will contribute to their economic and social development by bringing them energy of guaranteed quality and cheaper than the energy generated by engine generators.” adds Olivier Colas
Preparing for the future
In anticipation of a dramatic rise in demand, Blue Solutions is accelerating its R&D efforts with industrial or academic partners like the CEA Liten and is consolidating its industrial facilities. Near its Ergue Gaberic plant near Quimper, the company has already purchased 15 hectares of land to extend the site. “Energy storage is a key factor in the growth of renewable energies and the development of e-mobility. But beyond the ambition to save the planet, we must also save European industry…With its ‘solid-state’ battery, Blue Solutions has a real head start. We will develop it in the years to come. ” concludes Olivier Colas