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Last Update: 2018-04-03 Source: Research Headlines
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Developing the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles
An EU-funded project is developing a new battery cell technology for electric vehicles based on innovative materials. With better performance at lower cost, this will support the development of a strong and competitive European battery industry.
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Improvements in battery technology are necessary to drive forward the electric vehicle industry in Europe. In particular, a key goal has been to extend the limits of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in terms of energy density the amount of energy stored in a given volume. This would give electric cars a greater distance range per charging and reduce costs, making them more attractive to consumers.
The EU-funded FIVEVB project, which ends in April 2018, is developing an advanced high-energy Li-ion battery based on cell chemistry developed from scratch up to industrial prototype level.
The key results to date include the demonstration of novel battery chemistries in laboratory cells, a proof of concept for a new Li-ion chemistry, and the up-scaling and manufacture of cells using this concept to industry standards. The project has also produced a methodology for accelerating the development of the next generation Li-ion cells, and a system concept for integrating the next generation of Li-ion cells into electric vehicles.
The FIVEVB project will develop a new battery cell technology based on innovative materials such as high capacity anodes, high voltage cathodes and stable, safe and environmentally-friendly electrolytes, says project manager Thomas Traussnig of AVL LIST in Austria.
Workflow in a multidisciplinary team
FIVEVB is using laboratory testing and modelling techniques to assess prototype battery cells made from innovative materials, in terms of energy density, lifespan, costs and safety. The project is also working on a methodology to speed up the development of even better battery cells in the future.
The multidisciplinary project team will assure not only early technology integration between materials, cells, batteries and application requirements, but also a subsequent industrialisation of the developed technology, explains Traussnig.
This is being achieved through the projects expert round-table approach, which fosters a continuous exchange of information and experiences between the partners. Traussnig believes that providing this framework for diverse partners, from cell material developers to car manufacturers, is playing a key role in addressing the steep learning curve in this R&D field. For instance, it brings technological challenges into sharper focus so they can be specifically addressed.
The project team have designed an effective workflow system, using an iterative and holistic approach, to evaluate and optimise two generations of cell chemistries (anode, cathode, binder and electrolyte). This is leading to improvements in electrochemical performance of active materials and related new cell technology, in terms of energy density, lifetime, safety and costs.
After the development of electrodes with new materials such as silicon-alloy anodes all the components are combined in a small-scale pouch cell for further testing. The most promising cell chemistry will be up-scaled to the industrial level, along with a specifically-developed test protocol.
Strong and competitive
With the involvement of major European industry partners, representing the value chain from materials supplier to car manufacturer, the project is enabling the development of a strong and competitive European battery industry with a focus on the automotive field, says Traussnig.
New Li-ion battery technology will stimulate the adoption of electric cars in Europe. The FIVEVB project is ensuring that the next generation of Li-ion batteries driving this mobility revolution will be made in Europe.