Energy storage technology

The last decades Lithium-ion batteries are widely considered as the energy storage systems appropriate for use in low (laptops, cameras and smart cellular phones) and high (hybrid and all electric vehicles, renewables, aerospace) energy and power demand applications. The main reason for this choice is the high specific energy and power density, which is the highest in batteries with non-aqueous electrolytes. Nevertheless, with the growing energy storage demands there is a strong need for energy storage systems with higher energy and power densities. One way to achieve this goal concerns the development of new anode materials alternative to graphite that is currently used in commercial lithium ion batteries. Silicon is considered as an alternative attractive high-capacity anode material for Li-ion batteries with theoretical specific capacity of Si (3579 mAh/g), almost 10 times higher than that of graphite (372 mAh/g).

During the last 5 years, MN Lab is very active on New Generation Lithium-ion cells and especially at the silicon anode technology. Along with our strategic partner CERTH and under an ESA-funded project, MN Lab developed 1 Ah cells delivering more than 200 Wh/kg with excellent properties at low temperatures down to -40 oC. This collaboration has led to the application of a collaborative patent.

Electrode and cell development

In MNT Lab, an extensive research of next generation electrodes takes place mainly by depositing silicon or silicon/graphene mixtures on various current collectors either by PVD methods or slurries. In addition, within MNT Lab there is a complete infrastructure including a four-hand Argon filled glovebox for the fabrication of test cells.

Electrochemical characterization

The electrochemical characterization bench comprises equipment such as battery testers and potentiostat/galvanostat with Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy capabilities enabling many techniques.

Research highlights

High Energy Density Li-ion cells for Space Applications at Low Temperatures

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1-Ah lithium-ion cell performance at various temperatures. The anode is silicon.

High Energy Density Li-ion cells for Automotive Applications

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SEM images of silicon anodes deposited by DC sputtering at DUTH

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High loading mass provide high specific capacity electrodes

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Stable capacity of silicon anodes during cycling. (Test-cell data)

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1 Ah pouch cell with silicon anode (MNT Lab) and LFP cathode manufactured at Fraunhofer ICT