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CETIM researches future Li-ion batteries to boost smart mobility

On November 27th, the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI) resolved the CDTI Missions programme, aimed at financing large strategic business R&D initiatives in key challenges for the future of Spain.

 

CETIM is the technical coordinator and main research centre of the innovative LiOn-HD project, which, led by Silicio FerroSolar, will investigate the use of strategic materials in high energy density lithium-ion batteries for sustainable electromobility.

 

The project is also supported by companies and organisations such as the PSA Group, the Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI), the Galician Energy Institute (INEGA) and the Galician Agency for Innovation (GAIN).

 

 

Culleredo, 13 January 2021.- One of the main challenges that the automotive and mobility industry is facing today is its transition to sustainable and climate-neutral technologies. Although batteries are a key enabling technology for this change, there are major technological challenges to meet current needs and achieve this transition to intelligent mobility. These include higher energy yields, outstanding lifetime and reliability, increased safety, and environmental sustainability. All of this combined with cost-effective large-scale production.

 

LION-HD objectives on conventional Li-ion battery operation scheme (left).

 

In this context, the LiOn-HD project arises with the main objective of significantly improving the energy density, cost and sustainability of lithium-ion batteries through innovative research into advanced active and inactive materials and their synergic combinations for the different components of the electrochemical cell (anode, electrolyte and cathode), exceeding their current limits. This will also facilitate the evolution and transformation of the transport sector towards sustainability, decarbonisation and a drastic reduction in emissions, with special attention to aspects such as autonomous mobility and electromobility.

 

Specifically, LiOn-HD is classified within the Mission 2 of sustainable and intelligent mobility of the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI)’s Missions Programme, the flagship of the institution aimed at financing large strategic R&D initiatives in Spain, promoted by business groups in collaboration with technology centres, research bodies and universities. The resolution of the first call of the programme, which has been very close, took place last November 27th, resulting in the selection of LiOn-HD as the only project led by a large company with a Galician base.

 

Leading national consortium
The consortium, technically coordinated by CETIM, is made up of 8 R&D-intensive companies at the forefront of their sectors. The leadership corresponds to SILICIO FERROLOSAR and the following companies also participate: Química del Nalón, NANOKER, RIMSA, ABCRLabs, GRAPHENEA, CUANTUM and Hi-IBERIA.

 

Likewise, nine research bodies are collaborating: the CETIM itself, CIDETEC, the universities of A Coruña, Santiago, Alicante, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and three centres attached to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC): the Centre for Research into Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology (CINN), the Madrid Institute of Materials Science (ICMM) and the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB).

 

The project also has support from companies and organisations such as PSA Groupe, the Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI), the Galician Energy Institute (INEGA) and the Galician Agency for Innovation (GAIN).

 

From Galicia
CETIM, in addition to coordinating the project, participates by giving support to several of the companies in the consortium, researching innovative materials for different battery components: lithium-ion anodes based on nano and micro silicon, binders, electrolytes, etc.

Thus, for the batteries’ anode, CETIM will carry out research and optimisation of biocomposites in lignocellulosic materials and in carbonaceous materials as an alternative to mitigate the expansion and contraction effects of nano-silicon – the main disadvantage of its application in anodes of this type of batteries. CETIM also develops conductive materials and coatings that allow the stabilisation and mitigation of these effects when nanosilicon is used as an anodic material.

 

CETIM researchers working on lignocellulosic materials.

 

On the other hand, CETIM collaborates in the design of new electrolytes, a fundamental component of the cell to ensure the preservation of the integrity of the cell materials during its operation. More specifically, CETIM is researching electrolyte additives and fourth-generation semi-solid (gel) electrolytes to improve the electrochemical and interfacial compatibility of the electrolyte. Similarly, the polymer binders will also be an important point of innovation as they aim to replace the ones conventionally used, seeking, through the new alternatives, the integrity of the active materials studied in the anode. The binders allow to maintain a close contact between the active materials and between the metal particles and the current collector, a highly conditioning union for a high energy density and for a good mechanical stability of the electrode.

 

All this will culminate in the development of electrochemical semi-cells and their testing in order to evaluate the influence that each of the different types of materials developed have on the performance of the electrochemical cells.

 

Finally, CETIM will also develop the economic and environmental analyses that will assert the technical, environmental and commercial viability of the materials and technologies developed.

 

 

 

 

This project has been granted by the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI) within the framework of the call for 2019 of the MISSIONS Programme (EXP – 00133395 / MIG-20201021. Mission 2) and has the support of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.