Integration of smart functionalities

Increasing safety, reliability and cycle life of batteries by introducing smart sensing and self-healing functionalities. 

Even the best battery will eventually fail. Degenerative processes within a battery cannot be suppressed completely, and external factors such as extreme temperatures, mechanical stress, excessive power during operation, or simply ageing will, given time act detrimentally on battery performance. From the perspectives of sustainability, economic efficiency, and reliability, new ways need to be found to increase safety and lifetime particularly in critical applications.

The BATTERY 2030+ vision is to incorporate smart sensing and self-healing functionalities into battery cells with the goals of increasing battery durability, enhancing lifetime, lowering the cost per kWh stored, and, finally, significantly reducing the environmental footprint.

Non-invasive sensing technologies offering both spatial and time resolution will be developed to monitor key battery cell parameters during operation and to determine defective areas or components within the cells that need to be repaired by activating/adding self-healing functions. In the battery of the future, sensors will make it possible to follow chemical and electrochemical reactions “in vivo” directly inside a battery cell during real-world operation. New sensor technologies will emerge that can diagnose the early stages of battery failure, thermal runaway, and unwanted side reactions leading to early battery ageing.

Self-healing functionalities will become an important property of future batteries in applications that require batteries with high reliability, high quality, and long lifetimes. Combining sensing and self-healing functionalities will result in batteries with a predictable lifetime and documented state of health, state of safety, and usage history. Smart functionalities will enable better acceptance of used cells in primary and secondary applications.

With its two research areas, Theme II will address the need for safe and long-lived batteries.

Image illustrating the synergy between sensing, BMS and self-healing.
The synergy between sensing, BMS and self-healing. 
The short-, medium- and long-term goals for integration of smart functionalities
Research area Sensing Self-healing
Short-term (3 years)
  • Apply non-invasive multi-sensing approaches transparent to the battery chemical environment offering spatial and time resolution. 
  • Intergating sensors into existing battery components (e.g., separator, current collector and electrode composite).
  • Deploy sensors capable of detecting various relevant phenomena (e.g., interface dynamics, electrolyte degradation, dentric growth, metals dissolution and materials structure change).
  • Establishing a new research community that includes a wide range of R&D disciplines to develop self-healing functionalities for batteries.
  • Developing autonomous and non-autonomous (on demand) self-healing functionalities for specific battery chemistries targeting loss of capacity and loss of power. 
Medium-term (6 years)
  • Miniaturise and integrate the identified (electro)chemically stable sensing technologies with multifunctions at the cell level and in real battery modules, in a cost-effective way compatible with industrial manufacturing processes. 
  • Deliver proof of concept of higher quality, reliability and lifetime on the cell and module levels.
  • Integrating self-healing functionalities into battery components (e.g., separator or electrode composite).
  • Electrochemically stable non-autonomous self-healing functionalities triggered via an external stimulus obtained from an advanced BMS.
Long-term (10 years)
  • Master sensor communication with an advances BMS relying on new AI protocols by wireless means to achieve a fully operational smart battery pack. 
  • Established efficient feedback loops between cell sensing, BMS, and/or AI modules to appropriately trigger, by external stimulus, the self-healing functions already implanted in the cell. 
  • ​Designing and manufacturing low-cost biosourced and/or biomimetic membranes with controlled functionalities and structure as autonomous self-healing functionalities.