ECO COM’BAT Project Opens Up New Avenues For Improving The Sustainability Of High-voltage Batteries

- Aug 26, 2019-

As the trend of electrification travels become more apparent, new high-performance batteries face challenging requirements in all aspects, such as cruising range, service life, safety and charging time. The increase in the use of large-scale electric vehicle batteries has led to an increasingly tight demand for resources. According to foreign media reports, in order to jointly develop the next generation of sustainable high-voltage lithium-ion batteries, 10 industries or research institutions have successfully joined the ECO COM 'BAT project funded by the European Union.

The goal of the ECO COM 'BAT Innovation Project is to combine green and high-performance materials to accelerate product development and produce next-generation high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. The project was supported by EIT RawMaterials, a European Union agency, and coordinated by Fraunhofer ISC, Germany, from April 2016 to December 2018. The project involved Arkema and Umicore, battery manufacturers SAFT and Customcells, research and technology organizations Fraunhofer, CEA, CSIC, ENEA, VITO and Technical University Darmstadt.

Compared to conventional batteries, new battery power needs to be stronger and use more sustainable materials. Dr. Andreas Bittner, Project Coordinator of Fraunhofer ISC, Germany, said: "The main task of the ECO COM 'BAT project is to replace traditional materials that are often rare and expensive, even critical materials such as cobalt in electrodes and fluorine in electrolytes."

The project team adopted and optimized ORMOCER® coating, low cobalt NMC 622 and special high pressure electrolyte based on conductive salt bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide lithium (LiFSI), which can also operate stably under high pressure environment. Meet the battery requirements. In this study, the cobalt content of the battery was reduced by approximately 20% and the fluorine content of the electrolyte was reduced by two-thirds. In addition, R&D personnel use the structural carbon additives Porocarb and Graphistrength to further increase energy and power density. They experimented with integrating sustainable materials into soft-pack batteries, and the performance of soft-packed batteries was significantly improved compared to industrial reference battery samples, with a 50% increase in cycle stability at 4.3 V.

To optimize the ECO COM’ BAT project materials and cells, R&D personnel performed a comprehensive simulation of battery performance and aging. In addition, they developed and validated an effective recycling concept to recover expensive materials such as nickel, cobalt, graphite and lithium for high sustainability. The project's results help commercialize a new generation of sustainable high-voltage batteries. Once sufficient market demand is reached, these materials can enter the actual production phase.