BASE underlying strategy is to focus all activities on the excellent research carried out by the participants within three different broad themes. Scientists and companies will interact to break-down the unmet needs into projects based on specified problems to be solved. These themes are embedded in a number of Cross-Cutting activities.
Emerging concepts, defined as all possible battery chemistries, which can lead to ultra-high performance, will be embraced. The excellence and experience available by the academic partners of the Centre will lead to a continuous flow of novel materials and concepts with the Swedish raw materials (graphite, graphene, iron, manganese, multi-valent ions, biomaterials, etc.) as the prerequisite for the choices of activities. All research activities, however, will be driven by the end-user perspective (be it automotive, heavy-duty tools, energy storage, UPS’s etc.), since the needs and requirements for the different end-users must be in focus.
Experimental and modelling efforts will go hand-in-hand. The most significant results emerging from the projects within this theme will be presented at each General Assembly of the Centre, and used to promote interaction between the partners with respect to new projects, patents and applications. Development of modelling tools will be supported by Comsol. The end-user needs will be formulated by automotive companies and ABB. Upscaling of materials will be provided by either Altris, Graphmatech, LeadingEdge/Woxna, SAFT, Talga, Gränges and Northvolt. Cell formulations based on new upscaled materials will be tested by SAFT and Northvolt. Synthesis processes will be developed to secure industrial up-scaling of components. The challenges associated with up-scaling of components from mg-to-g lab-scale to 100g-to-kg industrial scale will be addressed in the early R&D phase of each sub-project.
The Smart Battery cell
The purpose of applying smart functionalities at material- and celllevel is to achieve longer life, better SOH and RUL predictions, more reliable aging models, safer systems, etc. BASE provide profound documented academic knowledge about battery interfaces, how to functionalize separators to improve battery cell function, liquid, polymer and ceramic electrolyte function and design, and knowledge on how to characterize battery cell functionalities. By including selfhealing cell chemistries and/or sensors into the material within the battery cell and study how detailed reactions in the cell can be monitored, new insights can be gained and the SOH of a battery cell in a battery pack can monitored in detail, which is expected to result in more reliable performance, including safety.
We aim to target this with both theoretical and experimental tools. New innovations can be foreseen since this is a new field of study for the world battery community. Insplorion will be instrumental in the attempts to improve the resolution of the sensing capabilities within the battery cell. As a first step, this will be used for in situ/operando characterization during development to engineer cells, batteries and BMS functions with better precision than today. In following steps, the possibility to incorporate sensors into cells intended for field application without compromising performance and reliability of the battery system will be explored. Northvolt and SAFT, together with ABB and the automotive companies, will guide the work based on the needs from end-users. The possibility to manufacture the “smart chemistry functionalities” and to incorporate sensors into battery cells is practically unexplored. Stena Metal and SAFT will advise on the recyclability of cells based on these new ideas and concepts. Models for the response from each battery cell must be refined (Comsol), and how this will influence performance at pack-level will constitute the core of these activities. This theme will identify and develop how new inexpensive anode, cathode and electrolyte materials from Theme 1 can be stabilised through the introduction of protective films, electrolyte and self-healing additives, etc.
Modelling and Characterisation
Better experimental and theoretical tools are needed for understanding the underlying processes that jeopardize lifetime and safety of battery cells (and consequently the batteries comprising these cells), and to shorten the time of discovery of new battery materials. We therefore will align with the mission innovation ideas and utilize data-driven approaches guided by our physical understanding and models to control, orchestrate and synchronise communication between all branches of the materials discovery cycle. In practise, we will develop tools capable of performing autonomous analysis and interpretation of data by bridging multi-scale computer simulations with in-line characterisation and data from the use of batteries to identify detrimental processes in batteries, but also the synthesis of materials and the manufacturing of battery cells, including more effective methods for on-line deviation/defect identification at manufacturing, thus preventing flawed cells from being incorporated in products and causing safety issues in the field.
These tools are also meant to be used for materials discovery to suggest the next generation materials and battery cell concepts. This platform will provide suggestions for the electrochemical testing of parameters for subsequent experimental studies which ultimately will lead to more granulated input into FMEA9 and better precision in the output of this engineering tool. This will necessitate the development of multiscale modelling in parallel with operando methods for XRD, ND, tomography, image analysis, photoelectron spectroscopy and soft X-ray spectroscopy – all aimed at promoting and facilitating synthesis, battery cell production, safety monitoring and the understanding of battery cell functionality in real applications. The four academic partners cover modelling from DFT, molecular dynamics, electrochemical modelling, to machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Centre is also unique in Sweden by covering a range of expertise in developing beamlines, experimental end stations and operando devices for batteries, for both synchrotron and neutron facilities. Comsol is an obvious partner, but modelling tools are used extensively at several industrial partners (e.g. ABB).