Startup Interview

  • [Startup Interview] Juhyuk Lee, CEO of ‘COSMOS’, a power exchange platform based on battery manufacturing technology
  • 창업원
  • 2022-10-30 20:21:40
  • 255

Today we will meet team COSMOS, winner of 2020 Fall E*5 KAIST! Team COSMOS hopes to build a global virtual power station based on a battery manufacturing technology by creating a power exchange platform that exchanges excess electricity

Let’s meet the future leader of next generation energy, CEO Juhyuk Lee of COSMOS!

Can you briefly introduce COSMOS?

Hi, I am Juhyuk Lee, CEO of COSMOS.

COSMOS is a type of wildflower and at the same time the universe. It is small but has a huge meaning. It represents our team, because currently no one pays attention to our team, but we will bring huge impact in the future. Like the meaning of the word, COSMOS is a startup that will establish a power exchange platform based on its next generation battery manufacturing technology.

What kind of company is COSMOS?

COSMOS is a team developing a power exchange platform that stores electricity generated by solar power installed in homes and makes it easy to trade surplus electricity between neighbors. Unlike traditional top down methods in power supply systems, we hope to achieve decentralization and automation and create a 100% new power system that allows individuals and households to produce, consume, and trade electricity,

The power system we are designing is essentially a virtual power plant that ultimately uses the surplus electricity of individuals. COSMOS starts from battery technology, but we will ultimately evolve into a team that builds a global virtual power plant that combines the world’s power network into one. The core of the virtual power station is based on a battery technology that safely stores electricity (hardware) and a big data and blockchain technology (software). Currently, the biggest challenge in creating a virtual power plant is the high risk of explosion when enlarging the lithium ion battery and high cost, making it difficult to create a market.

Our team has its own secure battery technology. Compared to existing lithium ion batteries, our batteries have no risk of explosions and 10 times cheaper. The fact that no global battery company has better technology than lithium ion batteries will be advantageous for us to establish our battery in individual homes. We hope to recruit talented people and cooperate with investors with our technology and blueprint.

It seems like COSMOS is not like other battery companies, but special in that neighbors can trade surplus electricity and use solar power. Starting with battery technology, COSMOS will eventually create a global power trading platform.

Therefore, I wonder how COSMOS can achieve decentralization of the power system through its battery technology. If the disadvantages of existing batteries are fixed using COSMOS’s big data and blockchain technology, COSMOS will be able to achieve its competitive advantage in the market.

How did COSMOS decide on the specific startup item?

As I mentioned earlier, this market concept has been proposed for a while. However, there have been limits to implementing lithium ion batteries because of the high risk and cost. We thought the bottleneck in the market was due to the lack of an appropriate hardware (battery). So, we decided to take the first step in creating a global virtual power plant using our unique next generation battery technology.

What are the advantages of using COSMOS’ battery compared to existing batteries?

The top 10 global battery companies all develop lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries are commonly found in smartphones because they are very thin and can store a lot of energy. Thus, companies have tried to develop large capacity lithium-ion batteries. However, large lithium ion batteries have caused fires and explosions in electric vehicles.

The cause of fires in lithium ion batteries is due to the highly flammable components in batteries. If large capacity batteries are burned down due to fires, it will also be an economic blow. Therefore, there is a consensus in the market that lithium ion batteries are not suitable for storing large amounts of power.

Batteries of COSMOS is powered by inflammable and cheap domestic materials. Although they are heavy and large, we believe that the stability and price of our batteries is a competitive advantage in the large capacity battery market, compared to lithium ion batteries.

There is nothing like lithium ion batteries, but the high risk of fire is a huge drawback. If COSMOS’s battery fixes such problem and is reasonably priced, it will become a product with marketability.

How will COSMOS mass produce batteries?

Unlike existing batteries, our product does not rely on imported components. In addition, the mass production process of our batteries is reduced by 40% compared to lithium ion batteries.

However, before we mass produce our batteries, we are searching for ways to reduce the cost of manufacturing and utilize eco-friendly materials. Foreign markets are tightening regulations on products with high LCA, based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that measures how much carbon dioxide is emitted during the manufacturing process. To target overseas energy markets, we must first improve our product’s LCA value, then establish mass production.

It is thoughtful to consider the materials of batteries over the mass production process in a global market where eco-friendly products are dominant. It is also important to create an eco-friendly energy product in the long run.

Why did you participate in E*5 KAIST and what did you learn from it?

Most teams participating in the E*5 KAIST Startup Audition Program by Startup KAIST are tech-based. I believed that accomplishing in this program would be an opportunity to be recognized as a high value tech-based startup.

We didn’t participate to win the program. We focused on verifying and earning feedback for our technology and business model, which I think is the advantage of KAIST E*5. CEOs of top tier investment companies and senior entrepreneurs work together with participants and give a lot of feedback throughout the entire program.

I always felt that work was a little superficial. However, through the E*5 program, I realized that in the process of preparing for a startup, vanity is not allowed, and one must beat his head against the wall to solve shortcomings.

What is there to add or supplement in E*5 KAIST?

When I participated in E*5 KAIST, most teams were software-based proposing a new service. In addition, senior entrepreneurs were also working in software-based companies. So I had difficulty learning about the risks tech-based startups must consider. E*5 KAIST will become more well-rounded if mentors, seniors, and program information for hardware-based startups are added.

Startup KAIST is working on E*5 KAIST to help teams preparing for startups. All programs have pros and cons, but we will prepare to ensure that startup teams can continue their business outside of school.

What is COSMOS’s short-term goal?

We have two short term goals. First, we want to recruit talented team members by attracting investment. Secondly, we plan on developing the product to the level where it can be installed in actual homes. Based on this, we will showcase our product in domestic and international energy-related expositions to show our cutting-edge technology.

What is COSMOS’s ultimate goal?

You might think of us as a battery production company, but our ultimate goal is to earn profit by managing a virtual power plant platform based on solar power and batteries.

While interviewing startup teams, I can see many new startups in the tech field and their passion for the business, extending from school and research to the commercialization of technology to impact the world.

Team COSMOS is also the case – starting from batteries that lead to a power exchange platform. I think this is the result of KAIST students who never overlook small problems in life. Although it is the start of COSMOS, the team was selected as the winner of E*5 KAIST with its innovative business strategy of using energy and batteries. We hope COSMOS becomes a global company and create a virtual power plant using the next generation solar power energy and batteries.

This was Juhyuk Lee, CEO of COSMOS.