Technological Centre

Digital twins, Blockchain and robotics for the 4.0 manufacturing of advanced lithium-ion battery components

ECO-SMART BATT will investigate the use of 4.0 technologies in order to improve the efficiency, traceability and reproducibility of the manufacturing processes of the different materials and products.

With the funding from GAIN, CETIM will participate with ENSO, SFS, Artabro and ABCRlabs in the manufacture 4.0 of high energy density lithium-ion battery components.

In line with the European Green Deal, a transition of the transport sector towards sustainable and climate-neutral technologies is being sought.

European Green Deal establishes the need for a transition towards a climate neutral Europe. For this, one of the main challenges facing the transport industry today is its transition towards sustainable and climate-neutral technologies. To achieve this, there are major technological challenges such as batteries with higher energy yields, outstanding service life and reliability, greater safety and environmental sustainability, all with profitable, traceable and reproducible large-scale production.

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have the potential to achieve high energy densities and long life times. In particular, the energy efficiency, costs and CO2 emissions of a LIB depend mainly on the chemical nature of the materials that make up the cathode, anode and electrolyte of the cell. In this context and in line with the LiOn-HD project, the ECO-SMART BATT project will seek to significantly improve the energy density, cost and sustainability of lithium-ion batteries through innovative research in sustainable and intelligent manufacturing of materials and their synergistic combinations, as well as research into monitoring, control and simulation technologies that allow the design of more efficient and profitable production processes, thus facilitating the evolution and transformation of the transport sector towards sustainability, decarbonisation and drastic reduction of emissions. ECO-SMART BATT is based on the sustainable 4.0 manufacturing of nanocomposites and ionogels for high energy density batteries, at a lower cost, that promote the transformation of the automotive sector.

Companies ABCR Labs, Ártabro Tech, ENSO Innovation (spin off of CETIM) and the Technological Centre itself participate in the consortium led by Silicio FerroSolar (SFS). The project seeks to investigate different sustainable and smart products and nanocomposites for anodes, electrolytes and separators of high energy density lithium-ion batteries. Industry 4.0 cutting-edge technologies will be used, such as: process digitization, digital twins, muon tomography in the silicon purification phase, advanced robotics and traceability from origin to final products through blockchain, in order to improve the efficiency, traceability and reproducibility of the manufacturing processes of the different materials and products.

CETIM and ENSO Innovation research

The objective of CETIM is the optimization of the processes of production and traceability of metallic silicon (in collaboration SFS) and cellulose nanofibers (in collaboration ENSO) through research and implementation in 4.0 technologies: digital twins and blockchain networks, as well as designing and validate a process for the assembly and assembly of new battery cells by conducting an automated pilot plant that allows evaluating their future industrial scalability.

ENSO Innovation, a spin off of CETIM, aims to search for alternatives that allow improving the performance of the electrochemical cell of batteries, based on the obtaining and implementation of cellulose nanoparticles.

Strategic importance for Galicia, Spain and Europe

For the automotive sector, the development and rise of the electric vehicle represents a paradigm shift to evolve towards electromobility. At the European level, there is a clear interest in establishing an internationally competitive European battery industry, since this industry suffers an alarming delay with respect to Asian countries and companies dedicated to the development and production of batteries. To this end, the European Union has implemented the Strategic Action Plan for Batteries in Europe, which seeks to attract investment and establish Europe as a key player in the battery industry. In addition, the European Battery Alliance (EBA) has been established with the purpose of promoting cleaner mobility. There are also frameworks such as the IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest) in which Silicio Ferrosolar hopes to be able to promote the ECO-SMART BATT project.

At the Galician level, the automotive sector is one of the most important industrial sectors, with leading production centers at a national and international level. To continue in this line, it is necessary to adapt to this electromobility, for this Galicia has a Strategic Plan based on innovation, which seeks to give priority to efficient, intelligent and non-aggressive renewable energies with the environment.

Thus, with the implementation of 4.0 technologies, the Eco-Smart Batt project will help both the internationalization of the Galician automotive sector and the attraction of investments from Europe to it, also providing competitive advantages over competitors. In addition, undertaking projects like this will help Galicia remain competitive in the face of the electric vehicle boom and have new reference centers, positioning itself as a benchmark for the manufacture of advanced materials, by overcoming technological challenges such as increased density energy from batteries, the use of sustainable materials and the development of smart, efficient, sustainable and safe manufacturing processes.

ECOSMARTBATT is a project funded by the Galician Innovation Agency and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (P.O FEDER Galicia 2014 – 2020), through the Fábrica do Futuro Program