BRITE Energy Innovators

TechConnect holds presentation on success of Parthian Battery Solutions

Augie Chico, a BRITE startup founder, driving a forklift

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WV News) — Statewide economic development organization TechConnectWV held a presentation Thursday to evaluate the success and progress of a company it helped to start, Parthian Battery Solutions.

Begun by Auggie Chico, a 2020 graduate of West Virginia University, Parthian Battery Solutions provides a way for lithium-ion batteries to be disposed of and recycled in a more eco-friendly way.

“Parthian is a leader in clean-tech innovation in West Virginia, and we have been more than happy to play a small part in Parthian’s success through our entrepreneurial assistance programs. We are exited to learn about the company’s growth and progress,” said Kevin DiGregorio, board chairman of TechConnectWV.

According to its website, “TechConnectWV is a nonprofit coalition committed to the advancement of the innovation economy in West Virginia, focused on four technology sectors: advanced energy, chemicals and advanced materials, biosciences and biometrics.”

Parthian focuses mainly on discarded batteries from electric vehicles, which can have between 70% and 80% of their original capacity when they are discarded, according to Chico.

“Everything is becoming electrified, and everything is becoming dependent on these batteries. We recognize that central role, and we also recognize these glaring issues in utilizing these batteries” he said. “There’s problems rife with lithium-ion batteries in every step of the supply chain from the raw materials that are being used to make them to the processes to extract and refine those materials.”

Parthian gets the batteries, assesses them and uses functioning parts of them to build new power storage units that can be used with solar panels, wind turbines and more.

The company even has plans to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning into the assessment of the batteries.

The idea for Parthian came to Chico while he was in high school. Being a car enthusiast, he saw the increase in electric vehicles and wanted to create a way to get more use out of their batteries. After Chico entered some entrepreneurial competitions, TechConnectWV picked up his idea and invested in it.

“The methods we employ are pretty simple. In essence what we do is ensure the useful life of the batteries are extended as long as possible. We prevent premature disposal of the batteries,” Chico said. “In the developing aerospace industry, FAA regulations have been outlined and will mandate that lithium-ion batteries used in aerospace industry may be retired before they reach 10% depredation. So they have over 90% of their life in them.”

Parthian has established itself as one of the first companies in second-life battery production. It has created the first residential energy storage system utilizing post-consumer batteries; it has partnered with top research institutions; and it handles stockpiles of EV batteries for electric car manufacturers.

Chico is adamant about keeping his business in the Mountain State, saying he is a fourth-generation West Virginian entrepreneur with intents to keep that legacy going.

“West Virginia is a place of opportunity. The support we’ve gotten from folks here in West Virginia has really been overwhelming,” he said. “And it’s my totally unbiased opinion that I think that West Virginia really is the perfect place for early stage startups. Getting started we needed a lot of support.

“When people think of startups, they think of places like Silicon Valley, New York, Austin, Texas. And while those are hotbeds for resources for startups to tap into, there are so many people clawing at those resources out there. But here in West Virginia, there is so much support that is ready for people.”

Read the original article by Chase Hughart for WV news here.

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