Battery research - SkaLiS project funded with 2.2 million euros

Pouch cell Lab

Pouch cell Lab © HZB

SkaLiS Project Team

SkaLiS Project Team © HZB

Powerful, compact, and affordable batteries are needed for the energy transition. Groups at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) led by Prof. Yan Lu, Dr. Ingo Manke, and Dr. Sebastian Risse are conducting this research. They are investigating and developing novel types of electrode materials based on sulphur and silicon. Risse is now also coordinating a large project involving teams from HZB as well as from the University of Potsdam near Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Technische Universität Dresden and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS Dresden.

The SkaLiS project will commence July 2021 and receive a total of 2.2 million euros in funding over the next three years from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). SkaLiS stands for "Operando analysis-supported, trans-scale and scalable electrode design for increasing the performance of lithium-sulphur pouch cells".

The participating research groups in SkaLiS (FKZ: 03XP0398) intend to produce a lithium-sulphur (Li-S) demonstrator battery in pouch cell format whose cathode simultaneously exhibits structure at several scales. This approach should enable the Li-S battery to be considerably safer, offer longer service life, and higher performance than previous battery cells. For the assessment of industrial relevance, the consortium is supported by an industrial advisory board consisting of representatives from Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Wingcopter, Customcells and E-Lyte.

The
HZB Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage has already set up the appropriate infrastructure to accomplish this work. It is known as the Pouch-Cell Line – experimental batteries in flat pouches can be produced in the facility from raw materials in a few simple steps (see video clip).

In addition, the SkaLiS project will also make a six-figure investment in a new detector system for a small-angle X-ray instrument. It is currently being set up at the Berlin-Wannsee campus in Risse's electrochemistry group and is particularly suited for studying materials such as battery electrodes.

Prof. Yan Lu, head of the Institute, and her team of chemists produce the cathode material themselves. It consists of finely ground sulphur particles embedded in a carbon powder substrate that features specific porosities. After the experimental battery cell has been fabricated in Berlin and Dresden, the electrochemical performance, safety, and service life are analysed in detail by the research groups headed by Manke and Risse using operando methods. This allows immediate conclusions to be drawn about cell fabrication and cathode material synthesis, which are also important for industrial-scale applications. 

arö

You might also be interested in

  • Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Science Highlight
    30.11.2022
    Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Nanodiamond materials have potential as low-cost photocatalysts. But until now, such carbon nanoparticles required high-energy UV light to become active. The DIACAT consortium has therefore produced and analysed variations of nanodiamond materials. The work shows: If the surface of the nanoparticles is occupied by sufficient hydrogen atoms, even the weaker energy of blue sunlight is sufficient for excitation. Future photocatalysts based on nanodiamonds might be able to convert CO2 or N2 into hydrocarbons or ammonia with sunlight.
  • New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Science Highlight
    30.11.2022
    New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Until now, it has been extremely tedious to perform measurements with high sensitivity and high spatial resolution using X-ray light in the tender energy range of 1.5 - 5.0 keV. Yet this X-ray light is ideal for investigating energy materials such as batteries or catalysts, but also biological systems. A team from HZB has now solved this problem: The newly developed monochromator optics increase the photon flux in the tender energy range by a factor of 100 and thus enable highly precise measurements of nanostructured systems. The method was successfully tested for the first time on catalytically active nanoparticles and microchips.
  • Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Science Highlight
    28.11.2022
    Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Solid-state batteries enable even higher energy densities than lithium-ion batteries with high safety. A team led by Prof. Philipp Adelhelm and Dr. Ingo Manke succeeded in observing a solid-state battery during charging and discharging and creating high-resolution 3D images. This showed that cracking can be effectively reduced through higher pressure.