Graphic: JLU/Elisa Monte

Fes­t­Batt: The next step in the sol­id state battery

Greater safe­ty, larg­er stor­age capac­i­ties, short­er charg­ing times — sol­id-state bat­ter­ies are expect­ed to out­per­form con­ven­tion­al lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies in almost all per­for­mance para­me­ters in the future. The bat­tery com­pe­tence clus­ter Fes­t­Batt, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of researchers from the Karl­sruhe Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (KIT), has devel­oped the basis for this. In a sec­ond fund­ing phase, com­plete bat­tery sys­tems and meth­ods for pro­duc­tion are now being devel­oped. The Fed­er­al Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Research (BMBF) is pro­vid­ing fund­ing of around 23 mil­lion euros.

Greater safe­ty, larg­er stor­age capac­i­ties, short­er charg­ing times — sol­id-state bat­ter­ies are expect­ed to out­per­form con­ven­tion­al lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies in almost all per­for­mance para­me­ters in the future. The bat­tery com­pe­tence clus­ter Fes­t­Batt, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of researchers from the Karl­sruhe Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (KIT), has devel­oped the basis for this. In a sec­ond fund­ing phase, com­plete bat­tery sys­tems and meth­ods for pro­duc­tion are now being devel­oped. The Fed­er­al Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Research (BMBF) is pro­vid­ing fund­ing of around 23 mil­lion euros.

Fur­ther devel­op­ment of the lithi­um-ion bat­tery could give elec­tro­mo­bil­i­ty a deci­sive boost in just a few years. Pro­fes­sor Hel­mut Ehren­berg, coor­di­na­tor of the Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion Plat­form in the Fes­t­Batt com­pe­tence clus­ter of the KIT Insti­tute for Applied Mate­ri­als (IAM), is con­vinced of this: “Sol­id-state bat­ter­ies do not require liq­uid and com­bustible elec­trolytes, their chem­istry allows high­er ener­gy den­si­ties and short­er charg­ing times. In addi­tion, tox­ic and rare mate­ri­als such as cobalt can be dis­pensed with.” The Fes­t­Batt com­pe­tence clus­ter, which was launched in 2018, is devel­op­ing this key tech­nol­o­gy on behalf of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and is now enter­ing its sec­ond fund­ing phase. The work is tak­ing place in a high­ly com­pet­i­tive inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­ment — in order to open up future mar­kets to Europe as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment has pooled the exper­tise of 17 sci­en­tif­ic insti­tu­tions in Fes­t­Batt. Among them are uni­ver­si­ties, Helmholtz insti­tutes as well as insti­tutes of the Fraun­hofer-Gesellschaft and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the over­all work is coor­di­nat­ed by the Jus­tus-Liebig-Uni­ver­si­ty Gießen (JLU).

First steps on the way to mass production

The new fund­ing phase of Fes­t­Batt will focus on the devel­op­ment of cell com­po­nents and entire sol­id-state bat­tery cells based on promis­ing elec­trolytes, and will also devel­op mate­r­i­al and process tech­nolo­gies for their pro­duc­tion. How­ev­er, there are still a num­ber of sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenges to be solved before sol­id-state bat­ter­ies can be mass pro­duced. The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion plat­form coor­di­nat­ed by KIT with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mar­burg, the Forschungszen­trum Jülich, and the JLU will, among oth­er things, per­form char­ac­ter­i­za­tions of con­tact and inter­faces with X‑ray, syn­chro­tron, and neu­tron radi­a­tion as well as dif­fer­ent microscopy tech­niques on com­plex mul­ti­phase sys­tems. Among oth­er things, a research group at KIT will make the cath­ode mate­ri­als pro­vid­ed with spe­cial pro­tec­tive lay­ers avail­able to the part­ners with­in the plat­form and then as ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al to all oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tive projects par­tic­i­pat­ing in Fes­t­Batt for com­plete characterization.

A head start through sys­tem­at­ic characterization

In the first fund­ing phase of Fes­t­Batt, more than 100 researchers worked in trans­dis­ci­pli­nary the­mat­ic plat­forms to iden­ti­fy suit­able mate­ri­als and syn­the­size dif­fer­ent sol­id elec­trolytes. The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion plat­form sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly inves­ti­gat­ed the mate­ri­als: The most impor­tant influ­enc­ing vari­ables in the syn­the­sis of sol­id elec­trolytes and crit­i­cal mate­r­i­al changes in com­pos­ites were iden­ti­fied. The fur­ther devel­op­ment of sol­id-state bat­ter­ies in the sec­ond fund­ing phase of Fes­t­Batt is now build­ing on this. Only the devel­op­ment of stan­dard­ized mea­sure­ment pro­to­cols made it pos­si­ble to reli­ably deter­mine the per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics and clas­si­fy the very dif­fer­ent cell con­cepts that are being devel­oped with great inten­si­ty worldwide.