New materials require the rethinking of battery cell design
Manufacturability is one of the highlighted cross-cutting research areas in the BATTERY 2030+ roadmap.
“We need to be able to produce batteries that are sustainable, competitive, and safe”, says Oscar Miguel, Director at Cidetec Energy Storage.
The development of new battery materials with different properties and processing needs and requirements, along with the integration of new features such as sensors and materials with self-healing properties, will require a significant rethinking of battery cell design.
“We need to be able to produce – or enable our European companies to do so – batteries that are sustainable, competitive, and safe. The two latter are essential, but sustainability is a sine qua non condition. To achieve this, we need to develop processes that reduce energy consumption and hence the carbon footprint. We also need to make sure that such processes are resource efficient in terms of raw materials use and scrap reduction, and we need to work towards recyclability and the use of recyclable materials. If we can’t manufacture batteries complying with these principles, it’s simply not worth the effort”, says Oscar Miguel, Director at Cidetec Energy Storage.
The redesign of the battery cell architecture is essential to drive both competitiveness and sustainability, while maintaining or even increasing the energy density. The research ideas outlined in the BATTERY 2030+ roadmap describe how modelling and artificial intelligence (AI) will be exploited to deliver digital twins for innovative, breakthrough cell geometries. The main goal of the digital twin model, designed for cell manufacturing processes, is to resolve physical issues faster by detecting them earlier in the process, and to predict outcomes with a much higher degree of accuracy. Additionally, the ability of the digital twin model to allow evaluation of the performance of equipment in real time may help companies obtain value and benefits iteratively and faster than ever. This will avoid, or substantially minimise, classical trial-and-error approaches.
“There are many possibilities within this research area, starting from exploring advanced manufacturing processes and inventing new processes in response to the discovery of new materials, to developing virtual representations of the manufacturing processes", says Elixabete Ayerbe, Project Manager at Cidetec Energy Storage.
How can BATTERY 2030+ contribute to advance within this field?
“BATTERY 2030+ will contribute to the sustainability challenge by developing design tools that will facilitate progress in this direction, as well as towards safety. But I would like to stress something else. For this, two keywords come to my mind. The first one is flexibility. Battery technologies are continuously evolving, and delivering breakthrough innovations faster is at the core of the BATTERY 2030+ strategy. Our production lines need to be flexible enough to smoothly accommodate such innovations".
"The second keyword is digitalisation. We see it as nearly the only way to efficiently develop new battery materials and technologies, design them into higher TRL working prototypes, and ultimately into designing, upscaling and operating their manufacturing processes. And all this is at the core of the BATTERY 2030+ initiative", says Oscar Miguel.
“I find the way BATTERY 2030+ addresses the manufacturing of future battery technologies really challenging, as well as very disruptive. I am pretty sure that the paradigm shift proposed by BATTERY 2030+ is required when it comes to developing the next generation of batteries with an efficient and eco-friendly way", says Elixabete Ayerbe.
Read more about manufacturability in the BATTERY 2030+ research roadmap.