BAT 1 Cluster Newsletter - January 2022 View webversion

The European Union is facing immense challenges towards an ecologically sustainable and economically stable Europe. To tip the balance in favour of a decarbonised Europe based on E-mobility, new battery technologies are considered as an essential piece of this puzzle. Under the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, numerous calls for proposals focus on different aspects of battery research. One of these is the LC-BAT-1-2019 call, which addresses the global interest in solid state batteries as an alternative battery technology to ensure higher performance, but also inherently safe batteries. The projects under this call, ASTRABAT, SAFELiMOVE, SOLiDIFY and SUBLIME, have formed a cluster. Thanks to synergies across the projects, a higher level of impact, beyond individual project level, will be reached, contributing more strongly to the adoption of the next generation of electromobility in Europe.

This is the first of the annual newsletter of this cluster in which we introduce the four projects and share the first promising results, we hope you enjoy reading it.

Meet our projects and their first results below!


The ASTRABAT project is addressing the topic of all-solid-state Li-ion batteries by using hybrid solid electrolyte materials. It aims to:
1️⃣ Find optimal solid-state cell materials, components and architecture for the development of a Generation 4a battery prototype, suited to the demands of the electric vehicle market;
2️⃣Identify suitable mass production manufacturing processes.
During the past 18 months, ASTRABAT has been addressing material and cell specifications, as well as material development and characterisation. This allowed the formulation and development of models of electrodes and electrolyte materials. More specifically, ASTRABAT has completed an overview of the Li-ion cells certifications and standards to be applied to the project’s prototype. The work shows that all-solid-state batteries are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries with liquid or gel electrolytes — mainly thanks to the lack of a flammable electrolyte — and provide higher energy density. Read more about this here.

Moreover, the project has completed specifications for the materials and cell architectures. It has also set out replicable test protocols for characterising materials and qualifying performance of the all-solid-state cells with emphasis on safety. Read more about this here.
The SAFELiMOVE project has as its main aim to meet the requirements of (future) BEV users like faster charging and longer battery cycle life. During the project, SAFELiMOVE, will deliver innovations in five main technology areas:
1️⃣ Nickel-rich layered oxide cathode materials;
2️⃣ High specific capacity Li-metal anode materials;
3️⃣ Advanced hybrid ceramic-polymer electrolyte with improved ion conductivity at room temperature;
4️⃣ Interface adoption for effective Li transport by surface modification and/or over-coatings;
5️⃣ Knowhow creation for the development of scale up production of all-solid-state batteries.
During the first 24 months of the project, a lot of effort was put into material development. For a battery cell, the materials are a key as they lay the ground for the performance of a cell.  But one cannot rely on the singular properties of each material only. For a good cell, the performance is very much defined by the interactions within the battery materials. In July 2020, just 7 months after the start of the project,  the SAFELiMOVE team already finalised the first set of materials.  Out of these materials, all solid state battery cells were built in different sizes. Cell cycling tests showed the compatibility of the materials, but also that there is room for further progress. An additional feedback was obtained from detailed interface analysis, which was directed to understand the Li-exchange between the materials. Another valuable input was received from modelling, which helped to interpret measured date as ion conductivity of the hybrid electrolyte. In October 2021, a second, optimised set of materials was ready. These materials are the base for the second generation of cells within the project towards cycling at room temperature with high energy density. Read more about this here.
Want to know what more about what you can expect from the SAFELiMOVE-project, watch the video below!
The SOLiDIFY comprises a unique manufacturing process with a solid-electrolyte material formed from liquid precursor to fabricate lithium-metal solid-state batteries. The concept is based on a solid nanocomposite electrolyte or nano-SCE used advantageously for a liquid-to-solid approach in the fabrication of the composite cathode and solid-electrolyte separator. The main goals of SOLiDIFY entail the upscaling of the liquid-to-solid concept both towards the development of manufacturable materials and processes and the discovery of full cell assembly schemes with ultimate demonstration of 1Ah pouch cell prototypes. The general SOLIDIFY strategies to reach the target energy density of 1200Wh/L (400Wh/kg) in 20 minutes of charging time (3C charging) are the integration of high-energy NMC active material and development of new electrode architectures for high mass loading and enabled by the liquid-to-solid approach. 
The four-year project is about halfway and the components for a first generation of cells have been selected for assembly. As a water-based cell assembly process is targeted, suitable protection of the high-energy NMC powder is foreseen by thin ALD coatings on the active material.
Unscalable methods to fabricate composite cathodes with the nanocomposite electrolyte have been developed. Thin free-standing electrolyte sheets have been synthesised with the help of a polymerisable ionic liquid) for mechanical strength. Thin lithium on copper foils have been foreseen with a protective artificial interphase coating for subsequent lamination with the electrolyte sheet and composite cathode in pouch cells.
The SUBLIME project started its activities in May 2020 with the aim of developing new sulphide-electrolyte-based solid-state battery cells with high capacity and high voltage stability.  SUBLIME pursues two pathways towards lithium solid-state cells: a high-energy pathway and a high-power density pathway. The high energy pathway targets cells with high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities (1200Wh/l and 450Wh/kg, respectively), whereas the high-power pathway targets cells with high power density, enabling fast charging (5C) while maintaining good cyclability and lifetime. Both pathways build on a common materials base: SUBLIME uses Li metal as anode (LiM) and an NMC chemistry with low cobalt content and a protected surface as cathode.
Notwithstanding the increased difficulty of operating remotely due to lockdowns and limited travel possibilities from the start, SUBLIME has been making steady progress. Recently, we reached an important milestone by producing the first in-project generation of solid-state electrolytes that have attained and, in some cases, surpassed the targeted ionic conductivity values. Thus, low cell resistances will be achievable, enabling higher energy and faster charging of the developed batteries.
These projects have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 875189. 875028. 875029 & 770142. The information and views set out in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf, may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 875029.