Bozhidar Nekeziev, Sales Director, Reserved Power Division, Monbat GroupBozhidar Nekeziev, Sales Director, Reserved Power Division
Lead still leads! The demand for lead-acid batteries is growing and will grow in near and mid-future due to the enhanced need for energy storage solutions. Lead-acid batteries offer cost-effective and reliable technology all while best fitting in the concept of circular economy - almost 100 percent of the battery weight components are recyclable. With well-established recycling procedures, clients are motivated to use lead-acid batteries with handsome paybacks for their used batteries. Working in the industrial batteries segment for over two decades now, Monbat Group offers a special range of lead-acid batteries positioned in the premium segment providing more cycles during their lifespan and offer a very competitive cost-performance ratio.

In an interview with the editorial team of Energy Tech Review Bozhidar Nekeziev, Sales Director, Reserved Power Division of Monbat Group, discusses how his company works closely with clients to develop effective decision models of the complex and uncertain environment faced by their organizations.

1. What are some of the prevalent challenges that your clients face in utilizing/applying your lead-acid batteries and systems? And how does Monbat Group help clients stay abreast of the challenges?

Currently, we are witnessing an increase in the energy demand, whereas storage spaces remain the same. This situation requires flexible technologic systems with an extra potential for optimization and efficiency, ex. bi-polar battery chains. But our first and most valuable proposition is the so-called “product-as-a-know-how” model, whereas Monbat deploys a project-based engineering team at clients’ venue. Even on the lowest level of technology clients demand customized solutions – ex. custom-engineered racks and cabinets for limited space utilization.

2. An excerpt from your website mentions the company as, “The source of power for different industries in over 70 countries.” Can you elaborate on how Monbat Group’s first-grade batteries is helping to augment the capabilities of energy storage systems?

Monbat is sustainably working in the industrial batteries segment for 20+ yrs. now. We can report 220+ satisfied clients – including faraway places like Antarctica, Alaska, Sakhalin and Australia. Additionally, we are offering a wide range of energy storage solutions – from budget-sensitive to state-of-the-art battery systems. Speaking of the latter, I’d mention Monbat special range of carbon batteries, offered since 2016, positioned in the premium segment. They are providing more cycles during their lifespan and offer a very competitive cost-performance ratio.

But in near future Monbat is preparing for the next ‘leap’ in the lead-acid segment –full scale production of bi-polar batteries, competing with Li-ion in terms of cycling capabilities.

3. Is there a particular approach or strategy employed by Monbat Group to engage clients more effectively and stay ahead of the market competition?

It’s difficult to outline a ‘shiny’ strategy explanation in a commodity market, but in my opinion, the greatest challenge is customer expectation, combining the strive for the best price and demanding tailor-made solution.

The greatest strength of Monbat is our commercial transparency – our end-product prices are dependent from the LME commodity price of lead and we usually transfer this raw material advantage to our customers, thus supporting their price efficiency.

4. To bring out the story, share one or two case studies where your company has helped its clients overcome their business challenges and attain desired outcomes with your offerings.

I’d try to showcase the versatility of the energy storage sector with two, almost extremely opposing, examples. It’s interesting to mention that both projects are part of our CSR program, where we donate equipment and perform engineering support pro bono. In the first case, we supplied the energy storage system for the solar plant of the Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery “Sveti Georgi Pobedonosec” on Mount Athos in 2019, where batteries duty is performed in quite high temperatures. In the second case, the batteries are used for storage on the Bulgarian Antarctic Base “Sveti Kliment Ohridski” on Isle of Livingstone. What we’ve learnt from these projects is – everything’s possible for lead-acid technology – from -50 to +50°C, from non-stop capacity utilization to 6-month hibernation and the most important – 10+ yrs. of flawless battery operation (in the case on Antarctica).

5. Can you share any details of the firm’s plans pertaining to new solutions, or technological strides that could play a role in the company’s offerings, and geographical expansion in the near future?

Monbat is preparing for the next ‘leap’ in the lead-acid segment – full scale production of bi-polar batteries, competing with Li-ion in terms of cycling capabilities

Monbat has implemented a vertically integrated business model, covering all aspects of the supply chain, from the extraction of recycled lead, through its recycling operations, to the production and sale of lead-acid batteries.

My forecast is that bi-polar technology will take on the humble, but extremely demanded lead-acid duty in energy storage. The Monoblock technology allows higher voltage in limited storage space. Monbat is actively cooperating with ABC – world leader in lead-acid bi-polar battery R&D, and in MBLab – our new accredited laboratory – we are successfully testing bi-polar prototypes, approaching their production maturity. Still, EAS Batteries, Li-ion start-up in Germany, is also part of the Monbat Group and we are looking forward to this segment too. Our ambition is to complete the transition, which have started in 1998 – from lead-acid battery producer to energy & power solutions provider.

6. Is there anything more that you would like to add or highlight? Any other interesting insight you would like us to talk about in the story that we may have missed in this questionnaire?

The EU market and producers are looking forward to the final edition and gradual implementation of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries. We at Monbat review it rather a new opportunity for greener and sustainable future than as an obstacle. We are proactively working on the compliance with the new regulations in the sector – especially the implementation of the systems for battery ‘health check’ and the carbon footprint requirements during the lifecycle.