Battery Technology

  • A Water-Based, Rechargeable Battery

    Research on the water electrolyte: Empa researcher Ruben-Simon Kühnel connecting a test cell to the charger with the concentrated saline solution. Empa

    Water could form the basis for future, particularly inexpensive rechargeable batteries. Empa researchers have succeeded in doubling the electrochemical stability of water with a special saline solution. This takes us one step closer to using the technology commercially. In the quest to find safe, low-cost batteries for the future, eventually we have to ask ourselves a question: Why not simply use water as an electrolyte? 

  • Batteries with Better Performance and Improved Safety

    Composition of the solid sodium battery. Empa

    Researchers from Empa and the University of Geneva have developed a prototype of a novel solid sodium battery with the potential to store extra energy. Phones, laptops, electric cars – batteries are everywhere. And to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, these batteries are increasin­gly lighter, more powerful and designed to last longer. Currently the core technology for these applications is lithium ion batteries. But the technology is expensive and contains a flammable liquid, which may represent a safety hazard, when the battery is abused.

  • Battery production goes Industrie 4.0

    Thanks to the early warning and emergency management system, impurities in the water supply can be quickly tracked down. Fraunhofer IPA

    A battery that can be charged in seconds, has a large capacity and lasts ten to twelve years? Certainly, many have wanted such a thing. Now the FastStorageBW II project – which includes Fraunhofer – is working on making it a reality. Fraunhofer researchers are using pre-production to optimize large-scale production and ensure it follows the principles of Industrie 4.0 from the outset.

    Imagine you’ve had a hectic day and then, to cap it all, you find that the battery of your electric vehicle is virtually empty. This means you’ll have to take a long break while it charges fully. It’s a completely different story with capacitors, which charge in seconds. However, they have a different drawback: they store very little energy.

  • Battery Research at Graz University of Technology: New Breakthroughs in Research on Super-batteries

    Stefan Freunberger vom Institut für Chemische Technologien von Materialien der TU Graz zählt auf in seinem Forschungsgebiet zu den weltweit führenden Wissenschaftern. © Lunghammer – TU Graz

    Researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria have discovered a means of suppressing singlet oxygen formation in lithium-oxygen batteries in order to extend their useful lives. Since 2012, Stefan Freunberger of the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials at TU Graz has been working on development of a new generation of batteries with enhanced performance and longer useful lives, and which are also cheaper to produce than current models. He believes that lithium-oxygen batteries have significant potential. In 2017, in the course of his work, Freunberger uncovered parallels between cell ageing in living organisms and in batteries. In both cases, highly reactive singlet oxygen is responsible for the ageing process.

  • E-Mobility: Battery Cells Optimally Welded with Robots and Lasers for Electric Racing Cars

    LaserTAB: at LASER WoP 2019, Fraunhofer ILT will be showcasing the laser-welded battery pack was developed in the EU project OPTEMUS (grant number 653288). © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    No e-mobility without laser technology: this is one of the claims of LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019. In keeping with the theme of this year’s fair, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be using Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding (LaserTAB) to demonstrate how even the most diverse battery cells and power electronics can be combined reliably using robot-assisted laser micro welding. At the Fraunhofer joint booth 431, hall A2, visitors can admire the electric racing car "eace05" of the Ecurie Aix - Formula Student Team, RWTH Aachen. An excellent example for the use of laser technology in electromobility, containing laser-welded batteries as well as laser-cut CFK-components.

  • Efficient Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries – Launch of Research Project NEW-BAT

    A new method will allow to recover valuable battery materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Funding was granted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to develop an innovative recycling process for valuable battery materials to be reinserted into the battery supply chain. The goal of the NEW-BAT project is a robust, energy efficient and economically viable system with wide application potential. Lithium-ion batteries are key elements in electromobility and a successful energy turnaround. The widespread use of these energy storage devices will come along with large quantities of spent batteries which itself constitute a valuable source of raw materials.

  • Energy hybrid: Battery meets super capacitor

    After stations in Zurich, Kanada and Scotland ERC Starting Grant awardee Stefan Freunberger researches on new energy storage systems at TU Graz. © Lunghammer - TU Graz

    Researcher at TU Graz demonstrates in Nature Materials that it is possible to combine the high-energy density of batteries with the high-power output of super capacitors in a single system – thanks to liquid energy storage materials. Batteries and super capacitors are electrochemical energy storage media, but they are as different as night and day. Both are capable of energy storage and targeted energy release – and yet there are major differences between the two. Batteries store very large amounts of energy that is released slowly but constantly. By contrast, super capacitors can only store small amounts of energy, but they release this energy much faster and more powerfully with large short-term peak currents.

  • Evonik Research Prize for lithium-ion battery test cell with separated electrodes

    A glass ceramic membrane, coated with aluminum and plastic, allows only lithium ions to pass through. It is impermeable to all other components of the electrolyte fluid. Photo: Monika Weiner / TUM

    For years, small rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reliably supplied billions of portable devices with energy. But manufacturers of high-energy applications such as electric cars and power storage systems seek for new electrode materials and electrolytes. Michael Metzger, researcher at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has now developed a new battery test cell allowing to investigate anionic and cationic reactions separately. Recently the researcher was honored with the Evonik Research Prize for his work.

  • Fraunhofer IWS Dresden offers 6th Workshop "Lithium-Sulfur-Batteries"

    Workshop "Lithium-Sulfur-Batteries". © Photo Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

    Lithium-sulfur batteries are the most promising choice for future energy storage systems. Lithium metal anodes are decisive components as they determine cycling stability and specific energy, also in solid state batteries. A topical session will address lithium metal processing, protective coatings and new lithium metal electrode architectures. Novel materials such as nanostructured carbon/sulfur composite cathodes, solid electrolytes and alloy-based anodes are crucial to significantly enhance the cell performance.

  • How a FAU researcher disassembles molecules

    Prof.Dr. Andreas Hirsch, holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU, has received an ERC Advanced Grant for the second time. FAU/Boris Mijat

    The EU is granting the chemist Andreas Hirsch of Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) 2.49 million euros to conduct research into black phosphorus on the molecular level. The holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU aims to develop new areas for its application, for instance in the fields of electrical energy storage and solar cells. It could make batteries last longer or enable solar cells to produce more electrical energy. This is the second ERC Advanced Grant to be approved for a research project headed by Hirsch. That makes him the first FAU researcher to achieve this feat.

  • Investing in the Energy Supply of Tomorrow

    Fraunhofer ISE's TestLab Power Electronics. ©Fraunhofer ISE

    Fraunhofer ISE’s New Research Lab for Power Electronics and Grid Technologies in the Multi-Megawatt Range. With the grid expansion and modernization process for the German energy transformation, a growing number of applications for advanced power electronics and grid technologies arise. Power electronic devices, or converters, are key for connecting power supplies, consumers and storage systems and are playing an ever more important role in our energy supply. Further, these devices must be tailored to meet the increasingly complex requirements that ensure the flexible and reliable operation of our future energy system.

  • It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-charging Solid-state Batteries

    The solid electrolyte serves as a stable carrier material to which the electrodes are currently applied on both sides using the screen printing process.  Forschungszentrum Jülich / Regine Panknin

    There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature.

  • LaserTAB: More Efficient and Precise Contacts Thanks to Human-Robot Collaboration

    The lightweight construction robot “intelligent industrial work assistant” guarantees that man and machine cooperate smoothly. © KUKA AG, Augsburg, Germany.

    At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

  • Launch of project ECO COM'BAT: Sustainable energy storage with high-voltage batteries

    Efficient lithium-ion pouch cell with the base materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Cruising range is one of the greatest challenges for the rapid implementation of electromobility in Europe. Ten partners from industry and research organizations now join forces in the EU funded project ECO COM'BAT, coordinated by the Fraunhofer Project Group Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies, part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, to develop the next generation of lithium-ion batteries – the high-voltage battery. Better performance is not the only goal for the new battery. Compared to conventional batteries the new type should be more powerful and even more sustainable due to the substitution of conventional, often expensive, rare or even critical materials.

  • Lithium-Ionen Akkus: Kapazität kann um das Sechsfache gesteigert werden

    Lithium Ionen Akkus Kapazität kann um das Sechsfache gesteigert werden | Lithium-Ionen wandern in die Schicht aus kristallinem Silizium ein. Im Lauf der Beladung bildet sich eine 20 Nanometer dünne Schicht (rot) in der Si-Elektrode, die extrem viele Lithium-Atome aufnimmt Abbildung: HZB

    Lithium-Ionen-Akkus könnten ihre Kapazität um das Sechsfache erhöhen, wenn ihre Anode statt aus Graphit aus Silizium bestünde. Ein Team vom Institut für weiche Materie und funktionale Materialien des Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) hat erstmals detailliert beobachtet, wie Lithium-Ionen in Silizium einwandern. Ihre Arbeit zeigt, dass schon extrem dünne Silizium-Schichten ausreichen, um die theoretisch mögliche Kapazität des Akkus zu realisieren. Die Arbeit ist veröffentlicht in der Zeitschrift ACSnano der American Chemical Socity (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b02032)

  • Low-Cost Battery from Waste Graphite

    Kish graphite is a waste product from steel production. It could be used to make a cheap rechargeable battery out of abundant materials. Empa / ETH Zürich

    Lithium ion batteries are flammable and the price of the raw material is rising. Are there alternatives? Yes: Empa and ETH Zürich researchers have discovered promising approaches as to how we might produce batteries out waste graphite and scrap metal. Kostiantyn Kravchyk works in the group of Maksym Kovalenko. This research group is based at both ETH Zurich and in Empa’s Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics. The two researchers’ ambitious goal at the Empa branch is to make a battery out of the most common elements in the Earth’s crust – such as magnesium or aluminum. These metals offer a high degree of safety, even if the anode is made of pure metal. This also offers the opportunity to assemble the batteries in a very simple and inexpensive way and to rapidly upscale the production.

  • Making progress with electricity

    The new BINE-Themeninfo brochure, “Electromobility”  © BINE Informationsdienst

    In the car industry, combustion engines are no longer the yardstick against which all values are measured. Electric drives have begun to become established on the market. The new BINE-Themeninfo brochure, “Electromobility” presents current research results on technology and economic efficiency. Here, the focus is on battery and fuel cell technology, the materials used and the impact of increasing electromobility on the power grid.

    FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.

  • More than Just Spectators

    Computer simulations of the motion across the surface of a metal suggest that in the presence of a layer of bromide ions (magenta) sulphur atoms (yellow) change their positions by dipping into it. Copyright: Deuchler

    Physics team at Kiel University investigates influence of ions on atomic motions. In batteries, fuel cells or technical coatings, central chemical processes take place on the surface of electrodes which are in contact with liquids. During these processes, atoms move over the surface, but how this exactly happens has hardly been researched. Physicists at Kiel University want to gain a better understanding of these motions, and the role of the chemical components involved. To do so, they observe with highest microscopic resolution how sulphur atoms move on copper electrodes, which are immersed in different saline solutions.

  • Neutrons Pave the Way to Accelerated Production of Lithium-ion Cells

    Mounting of a battery cell in the instrument ANTARES at FRM II.  Photo: Wenzel Schürmann / TUM

    Developers from Bosch and scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are using neutrons to analyze the filling of lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars with electrolytes. Their experiments show that electrodes are wetted twice as fast in a vacuum as under normal pressure.

  • New Quantum States for Better Quantum Memories

    An artificial diamond under the optical microscope. The diamond fluoresces because due to a number of nitrogen defects. TU Wien

    How can quantum information be stored as long as possible? An important step forward in the development of quantum memories has been achieved by a research team of TU Wien. Conventional memories used in today’s computers only differentiate between the bit values 0 and 1. In quantum physics, however, arbitrary superpositions of these two states are possible. Most of the ideas for new quantum technology devices rely on this “Superposition Principle”. One of the main challenges in using such states is that they are usually short-lived. Only for a short period of time can information be read out of quantum memories reliably, after that it is irrecoverable.