Balancell Energy (Pty) Ltd is an innovative South African business that designs, engineers and manufactures smart lithium-ion batteries for multiple applications. This company, poised to take its groundbreaking battery technology to the world, took the top spot for manufacturing in the Financial Times and Statista list of Africa’s 125 Fastest Growing Companies for 2024. The company also made the top 20 overall, coming in at number 17.

Assembling batteries at Ndabeni.

Assembling batteries at Ndabeni. Supplied by Balancell Energy (Pty) Ltd

Best of the best

Making it into the ranking of Africa’s 125 Fastest Growing Companies is no easy feat. All countries on the African continent are allowed to participate and thousands of companies were identified by Statista as eligible candidates and invited to apply. Applicants went through a rigorous and complex evaluation process, including careful vetting of all data submitted.

“Achieving this accolade proves to us that South Africa has a place in the growing energy storage space in Africa and indeed on the globe,” says Paul Osborne, CFO of the company. “It reinforces our belief that the technology we have developed is world class and can be scaled to serve a much larger market. It also serves as recognition for the blood sweat and tears that have been invested in the business over more than 13 years and validates our belief in its potential. Africa is not for the faint-hearted, and neither is building a manufacturing business from the ground up. If you can build a successful manufacturing business in Africa, I believe you can make a success of it anywhere in the world – and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

 

Batteries of the future

Mention the words “battery” or “energy storage” in South Africa and the conversation usually turns to loadshedding, but Balancell is playing in a much bigger league than keeping lights and televisions on. Their futuristic “smart” lithium batteries are designed predominantly for industry, powering warehouse forklifts, refrigerated trucks, boats, factories and more.

The company’s batteries are “smart” in that they manage and protect themselves, monitor their own performance and send diagnostic reports in real time, making it easier than ever to keep track of a machine or vehicle’s battery life and prevent unscheduled downtime. They’re also more robust, cost-effective, and cleaner than most alternatives and they require no maintenance. Due to their lower cost, high power output and reliability, Balancell batteries are already powering some of the world’s biggest automotive brands and logistics businesses. And the modular system they employ means they can produce new custom designs quickly when required for different industries.

“We produce a unique battery that incorporates multiple levels of safety, from mechanical design to analogue electronic cut-outs, in addition to digital battery control and finally software alerts,” says Ian de Vries, CEO at the company. “We provide completely transparent and auditable energy, in and out warranties, which include the logging of every minute of the battery’s life. And we’re leading the way in the development of a battery passport for our customers’ future requirements.”

 

Win for South Africa

When individual South African businesses succeed on the global stage, the whole country benefits. That is certainly the case with Balancell, which does all of its product development and manufacturing on home soil and is committed to job creation. “The company currently provides 60 full-time direct jobs while providing more than 1 000 downstream employment opportunities,” says Osborne. With its rapid expansion, these numbers will likely continue to grow. According to World Economic Forum research, the energy, technology and care sectors have the greatest potential to provide high levels of job creation in developing countries, and Balancell aims to play its part in South Africa accessing these opportunities.

Balancell has already begun shipping largescale batteries across the continent and is in the process of entering the European market.

In time, Osborne hopes to see the country benefitting in other ways, too. “The company has built a world class battery and energy platform that is very cost competitive,” he says. “The business has made significant inroads into the industrial motive market, and we believe that we have also now built a high voltage solution that will help South Africa get on top of the current energy crisis by providing an effective energy storage solution that can provide a base load to the grid. The IP and engineering capability of this solution is local and therefore ensures that South Africa is not dependent on foreign suppliers for energy solutions.”

View the complete ranking of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies 2024 here. For more on Balancell go to: https://balancell.com/

Source: Supplied by Balancell Energy (Pty) Ltd