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Non-nuclear energy

Overview of current programme activities

Fission and radiation protection

Energy storage projects funded under the JOULE III Programme

  • Picture of Model of Regenesys 100 MWh redox plant
    In total, JOULE III funding (only Directorate-General for Research) for research on energy storage in FP4 amounted to some €29 million, of which €21 million was allocated to 12 projects for research on advanced batteries (mainly lithium-ion and lithium-polymer). Three super-capacitor and three flywheel projects were also supported (totalling €4.6 million and €2.7 million respectively).
  • The research efforts included active materials development, packaging, battery thermal and electrical management systems, and safety and economic assessment. Both lithium- ion and lithium-polymer batteries have been developed.
  • A notable development has been a lithium-ion battery with a system energy density of 100 Wh/kg, (around three times that of conventional lead-acid) developed with JOULE support in FP3 and FP4.
  • Super-capacitors are being developed as power buffers for electric vehicles and UPS, based on conventional carbon and electrically conducting polymer materials, with ambitious energy and power density targets (up to 2kW/kg and 7Wh/kg). Research includes materials' development and optimising the energy management in electric drivelines.
  • In the stationary domain, a high-performance power conditioner is being developed to provide optimised control of charge and discharge currents in renewable energy sources (RES) applications. The aim is to improve the lifetime of lead-acid batteries through a better understanding of actual operating conditions and the introduction of active control of charge/discharge to avoid conditions associated with degradation mechanisms. The effectiveness of a mobile battery regeneration unit is also being tested.

Recent developments in the Energy Programme

  • During the past few years over €30 million has been allocated to more than 20 projects in the field of energy storage. This includes €20 million for projects on electrochemical battery or battery-related technologies.
  • The funding for battery projects includes some €7 million allocated to projects on the development of active materials and processes for lithium batteries for stationary, transport and small portable applications.
  • Recently, there has been greater focus on developing high-power batteries for hybrid electric vehicles - a possible technology for meeting the challenging voluntary EU fleet average target of 140g/km CO2 emissions by 2008. Other recent projects include improved processes for electrodes for high power nickel metal hydride batteries, a nickel/zinc battery for an electric scooter, a high-power lead-acid battery for UPS, and the continuation of the battery bench test programme. The lead-acid batteries are addressed in several projects which cover development of new materials and modular design, new charging/discharging schemes and accelerated testing procedures and standards. The battery systems are intended for use mainly in RES applications such as PV and wind installations.