The BATTERY 2030+ research roadmap suggests long-term research directions based on a chemistry-neutral approach, focusing on the three overarching themes and six research areas.
Theme I. Accelerated discovery of battery interfaces and materials
- Battery Interface Genome (BIG)
- Materials Acceleration Platform (MAP)
Theme II. Integaration of smart functionalities
Theme III. Cross-cutting areas
I. Accelerated discovery of BATTERY interfaces and materials
Creating an autonomous, “self-driving” laboratory for the accelerated discovery and
optimisation of battery materials, interfaces and cells.
Accelerated discovery of battery interfaces and materials is essential to secure new sustainable materials with high energy and/or power performance and that exhibit high stability towards unwanted degradation reactions. Special attention must be paid to the complex reactions taking place at the many material interfaces within batteries.
Utilising the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI), BATTERY 2030+ advocates the development of the Battery Interface Genome (BIG)—Materials Acceleration Platform (MAP) initiative to drastically accelerate the development of novel battery materials. A central aspect will be the development of a shared European data infrastructure capable of the autonomous acquisition, handling and use of data from all domains of the battery development cycle. Novel AI-based tools and physical models will utilize large amounts of acquired data, with a strong emphasis on battery materials, interfaces, and “interphases.” Data will be generated for battery processes spanning multiple time and length scales using a wide range of complementary approaches, including computer simulations, autonomous high-throughput material synthesis and characterization, in operando experiments and device-level testing. Novel AI-based tools and physics-aware models will utilise the data to “learn” the interplay between battery materials and interfaces, providing the foundation to improve future battery materials, interfaces, and cells.
II. Integration of smart functionalities
Increasing safety, reliability, and cycle life of batteries by introducing smart sensing and self-healing functionalities.
Integration of smart functionalities will enhance the lifetime and safety of batteries. BATTERY 2030+ suggests two different and complementary schemes to address these key challenges: the development of sensors probing chemical and electrochemical reactions directly at the battery cell level, and the use of self-healing functionalities to restore lost functionality within an operational battery cell.
New types of embedded sensors will allow the continuous monitoring of battery health and safety status. Sensor technologies and approaches that can be made suitable for monitoring reactions within a battery cell—for example, optical fibres, plasmonics, acoustics, and electrochemical sensors—will realize more reliable battery systems. Such increased complexity inherently impacts manufacturability and recyclability, which must be considered early in the development cycle.
Self-healing batteries will utilize passive and active components in different parts of the battery cell that can be triggered by external stimuli or act continuously to prevent, retard, or reverse degradation and hazardous reactions within battery cells. Inspiration for this can be found in the area of drug delivery, underlining the need to work across research disciplines. When equipped with sensors, the battery cell could autonomously release the self-healing agents needed to control unwanted reactions and degradation phenomena, dramatically enhancing quality, reliability, lifetime, and safety.
New cost-effective sensors with high sensitivity and accuracy offer the possibility of “smart batteries.” BATTERY 2030+ is targeting the integration of these new sensing technologies into the battery management system (BMS), to give a real-time active connection to the self-healing functions and a safer battery with a longer lifetime.
III. Cross-cutting areas
Making manufacturability and recyclability integral parts of battery R&D at an early stage.
Cross-cutting areas such as manufacturability and recyclability need to be addressed early in the discovery process. Can the new materials be possible to scale up in a sustainable way? Can we recycle the new cell concepts suggested in Theme II? Manufacturability is addressed from the perspective of the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. Digitalisation tools will be developed utilising the power of modelling and of AI to deliver solutions to replace classical trial and error approaches for manufacturing. New recycling concepts, such as reconditioning active materials and electrodes, are central in this respect.
The battery of the future will be designed based on virtual representation taking into account sustainability and circular economy concepts including life cycle assessments. Materials sourcing, processing, manufacturing and assembly processes must be tailored to accommodate new chemistries and follow innovative approaches to allow for efficient remanufacturing and re-use requirements.
The manufacturability and recyclability of batteries are thus key cross-cutting areas that will develop through close collaboration between those addressing themes I and II. From the outset, new knowledge and ideas about how to manufacture and recycle batteries will inform the materials discovery and development processes.