Germany launches 3-year, €36M research project into technology for safer Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is contributing about €19 million (US$24 million) to a new €36-million ($US46 million), 3-year, public-private research project to improve further the safety of lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Private sector partners are putting in around €17 million (US$22 million). The research will focus on new materials, test methods and semiconductor sensors.
The German government has elected SafeBatt as one of nine lighthouse projects of Germany’s National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE). The government intends for the SafeBatt (“active and passive measures for intrinsically safe lithium ion batteries”) project to further the country’s position as a center for industry, science and technology, and to accelerate the shift to more climate-friendly and cost-effective mobility.
The SafeBatt project is intended to play an important role in Li-ion quality and safety. The SafeBatt partners will investigate among other things how the cell chemistry—in particular that of the cathode material and the electrolytes—can be optimized to increase the intrinsic safety of lithium-ion battery cells.
In addition, research will be done into new semiconductor sensors made of material never previously used in this area, such as graphene, in order to record the relevant safety parameters of the battery cell, including the ion concentration, the increase in pressure and the temperature cycles inside the cell.
Another objective of the research is a “Digital Battery Passport”. This is intended to continuously measure, assess and store data on safety-relevant factors, even in extreme conditions such as winter temperatures below -10°C or summer temperatures above 30°C.
The SafeBatt team also wants to develop new safety models for battery cells, which ascertain the correct operating status of the battery and at the same time take into consideration all possible extreme situations. Such extreme situations include for instance the complete discharge of the battery in low temperatures or an excessive rise in operating temperature at the height of the summer, for example when the battery temperature control fails.
In addition, SafeBatt researchers want to optimize and standardize the test procedure for the product approval of batteries, since the test procedure used at the moment does not cover all conceivable extreme situations.
SafeBatt began in July 2012 and will end on 30 June 2015. The SafeBatt project partners are BASF SE; BMW AG; Daimler AG; Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH & Co.KG; ElringKlinger AG; Evonik Litarion GmbH; Infineon Technologies AG; Li-Tec Battery GmbH; SGS Germany GmbH; Volkswagen AG; Wacker Chemie AG; the Institute for Chemical Technology ICT of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft; the Technical University of Braunschweig with the Institute for Particle Technology iPAT; the University of Münster with its battery research center MEET; and the Technical University of Munich with its Department for Electrical Energy Storage.