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MAT4BAT Report Summary

Project ID: 608931
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: France

Periodic Report Summary 2 - MAT4BAT (Advanced materials for batteries)

Project Context and Objectives:
Li-ion technologies initiated in the 90’ at a fast development pace thanks mainly to emerging ICTs with more than 20 GWh sold in 2010. Soon, it appeared as a credible technology for electrical vehicles as it could provide average energy densities of about 140 Wh/kg. However and since then, major breakthroughs have been expected to reach higher storage levels of 250 Wh/kg on battery system level with an acceptable lifetime of 3000 cycles in order to develop an affordable economical business plan for car batteries.

MAT4BAT, a 42 month long project, builds-up its EVs battery strategy on advanced materials and pilot line processes, proposing three novel concepts of cells initiating from a state-of-the art combination of cell materials (NMC/Carbonate liquid electrolyte/Graphite). MAT4BAT will address all critical ageing mechanisms associated to this technology and having direct impacts on product lifetime & safety by implementing two work programs for Battery Assessment (#1) and Battery Technologies (#2).

Program #1 (WP1 and WP2) will set a framework to define critical charging modalities for a battery system during practical use and associated testing tools & methods for relevant functional performance & lifetime assessment. Simulation and post-mortem analysis will be implemented to generate extensive knowledge on failure roots and a better understanding of critical ageing mechanisms in order to propose behavioural and predictive models for battery performance and life time under various practical operating conditions (charge, discharge, rest time). This framework will serve as an enabling technology for the recommendation of advanced materials suitable for emerging technologies of ageing resistant batteries.

Within the framework defined in program #1, the program #2 (WP3 and WP4) will implement three generations of cells with a focus on electrolytes which will be steadily transformed from Liquid to Gel to All- Solid state electrolytes in order to promote substantial gain in cell lifetime and safety by preventing degradations and hazards (e.g. internal short-circuit caused by dendrites formation) and by improving energy density with a separator-free cell (all-solid state electrolyte). MAT4BAT will address most of the experienced based and acknowledged ageing mechanisms by proposing advanced materials solutions stepwise through the 3 generations of cells. This will allow tests and an in-depth interpretation of the overall performance of cells and this will allow drawing conclusions on the added value of each improvement. The targets and success indicators for MAT4BAT cells are an increase of the energy density from 150Wh/kg to 250Wh/kg during the successive generations combined with an improvement of the lifetime from 2000 to 4000 cycles in standard charging and from 1500 to 3000 cycles in fast charging.

The project methodology will include a first phase during which a hundred state-of-the-art commercial cells will be assessed to define normal and critical charge/discharge conditions of testing with appropriate testing protocols. Besides, materials increments will be screened out on coin-cells prior a benchmarking of most promising materials at full cells level. Eventually, 10 to 40 A.h prototypes will be produced to validate MAT4BAT best technologies against quantified objectives.

To achieve these ambitious goals, MAT4BAT project gathers 17 European partners (academics and RTO, industrials and one consultant for management) from 9 countries covering all the key aspects from material development to li-ion cell testing and modelling with a high level of expertise.

Project Results:
For the Work Program #1 Battery Assessment:
Defined common protocols for battery aging were applied by 6 partners on 78 commercial reference cells (Kokam 16Ah) as well as on 38 GEN1 cells manufactured in Mat4Bat project. Relevant parameters such as SOC, SOC window, ambient temperature and charge C-rate were varied. Collected data helped for the development of an empirical law for calendar aging of Kokam cells (VITO, RENAULT, EIGSI, CEA). The model is in good agreement with the experimental data and it enables for rapid battery end-of-life prediction.
By further Post-Mortem analysis of Kokam cells the aging mechanisms for cycling and calendar aging were clarified (CEA, CIC, ZSW). A large arsenal of physico-chemical methods available within the consortium was the key for enhanced understanding. Post-Mortem analysis of fresh GEN1 cells showed first results on this cell generation (CEA, CIC, ZSW) and it will be completed after aging tests.
Finally best SOC windows and temperatures enabling lowest possible aging rate will be valuable information to define new battery management strategies.

For the Work Program #2 Battery Technology:
In the first part of the project GEN1 materials from commercial suppliers and Mat4bat partners (IMERYS, SOLVAY) were successfully implemented in 18Ah cells (CIDETEC, KIT, CEGASA).
Development of materials for GEN2 and GEN3 was done in parallel. Advanced Li-rich cathode material was scale-up by CEA up to 10 kg. IMERYS supplied partners with new modified artificial graphites that were evaluated from lab scale to pilot scale (CIC, DIRECTA, CEA). Large efforts were dedicated to water-based formulation optimization of both electrodes with PVDF-based binders from SOLVAY and the evaluation of GEN2 electrolytes to improve cell lifetime. Components were finally scaled-up and will be integrated in GEN2 prismatic cells (CIDETEC, CEA, KIT). Finally GEN3 technology will be designed with new polymer electrolyte implementation and will benefit from optimized formulations and cell manufacturing process (IMC, CEA, INSA, SOLVIONIC).
New composite hard casings were developed on Li-ion cells to improve safety performances while minimizing the impact on energy density. Two processes were successfully used to prepare such overpackagings, namely resin transfer molding (RTM) and vacuum infusion (INSA). Safety and aging tests will be performed to assess the impact on cell performances.

Regarding economic and ecologic performance of the developments, as well as on the conformity to regulations and standards, main achievements are detailed below:
• The green value chain analysis for the reference and the GEN1 cell was carried out (VITO). NMC cathode material dominates the environmental impacts (use of nickel sulphate).
• The cost model was applied to the reference and the GEN1 and preliminary GEN2 cell (KIT). With the GEN1 developments, the cell price decreases from 172 €/kWh to 167 €/kWh. 1% of the savings can be allocated to the MAT4BAT developments.
• Business cases with stationary or mobility scenarios were also implemented (KIT, VITO).
• A deliverable was dedicated to the collection of current regulations and standards (VITO). This study clearly details the good practice for battery handling and labelling for example.

The Dissemination and Exploitation processes have been regularly updated:
• The Advisory Board was invited to attend Mat4Bat meetings and gave valuable information for the exploitation of the project.
• Mat4Bat Summer school took place at EIGSI in La Rochelle (France) in June 2015. It allowed giving lectures, poster sessions and panel discussions, involving more than 50 attendees both from industry and research world. Meeting content was made public by uploading presentations on the project website.
• Dissemination activities have been speeded up with more than 20 scientific publications issued by the partners for example. Finally the PUDK was updated with identification of more than 70 provisional exploitation paths.

Potential Impact:
MAT4BAT is aiming at an increase of the competitiveness, sustainability and longevity of future Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Consequently, the MAT4BAT consortium is structured around European industrial companies already committed to materials development for Li-ion batteries for EVs. These industrial companies and research organizations are at the top expertise level in Europe in the battery field. The presence of these key actors warrants an efficient exploitation of the results.

In terms of commercial exploitation, battery materials producers supply individual components of the battery (core product), which for successful market deployment have to function together smoothly at the cell level (whole product). Renault as commercial end user of advanced battery systems (battery packs) provides the necessary integrative function that facilitates exploitation at the level of individual battery components, at the battery cell level and at the battery pack level. Understanding aging processes, performance limitations and regulatory/sustainability aspects is of crucial importance to manage risks related to Li-ion batteries in the automotive sector and to know which material components are the limiting performance. The participation of specialized public research institutes assures that the relevant phenomena are investigated with sufficient scientific depth and involvement of students to achieve a sustainable, ‘general advancement of knowledge’, documented by the many exploitation entries in the PUDK. 17 pathways for ‘commercial exploitation of R&D results’ were reported and 54 pathways for ‘general advancement of knowledge’.

Hereafter we select topics and show how the knowledge generated within Mat4Bat has been used until now. Discussion can be made along the whole Li-ion battery value chain which is effectively covered in Mat4Bat project.

• Li-ion Battery Materials Expertise and know-how:
Different kind of materials were successfully developed and evaluated in Mat4Bat project. The loop strategy for cell generation manufacturing enabled to make decisive incremental improvements. Feedback and application data from MAT4BAT partners supported the potential commercialization of products for application in Li-ion batteries or other fields.

• Li-ion Battery Manufacturing and Integration:
Manufacturing process from electrode coating to new packaging strategies was covered by research and technological institutes as well as industrial partners. Developments were mandatory due to new material integration and feedback could help stakeholders to develop innovative process in Europe.

• Operation of Li-ion Batteries for Maximal Safety and Durability:
Identification of cycling conditions under which side reactions such as lithium plating are avoided contributes to safer operation of Li-ion batteries, and to enhanced cycle life.

• Recycling / Regulations / Life Cycle Analysis / Business Study:
Data generated in MAT4BAT project provides guidance for sustainable product development and for compliance with current and future regulations. Results from lifetime modeling enabled quantification of the effect of cell durability on business case profitability.

• Benefits in Terms of Networking within the EU Battery Community:
A collaborative academic-industrial network with strong synergies in terms of infrastructure and expertise was generated that will last beyond the completion of the project.

• Education, Training and Inter-disciplinary Collaboration:
Education and training of staff as qualified candidates for the Li-ion battery industry is one of the key benefits of the project that will be exploited by the Li-ion battery community as a whole. Efforts are made to inspire the next generation of engineers who may have aspirations to work in the field of energy storage, Li-ion battery technology, and the automotive sector in general. MAT4BAT is an excellent opportunity for public research institutions and private industry to engage with each other.

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