February 15

Sumukha Todea, Jan Felix Plumeyer, Maximilian Stephan, Dr. José Diez-Rodríguez. Photo: Circular Valley
Highlights of the event "Battery Technology: Present & Future"
The event was organized by Circular Valley as part of the TraWeBa project
In his presentation "Potentials and challenges of alternative battery technologies - Alternative Battery Technologies Roadmap 2030+", Maximilian Stephan from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI addressed the questions of why alternative battery technologies are needed and which technologies are promising. What are their strengths, how advanced are the technologies and for which applications are they suitable? Compared to the lithium-ion battery as a state-of-the-art technology, research and market development is focusing in particular on improving the sustainability of the battery and its technological suitability for selected applications.

The "Alternative Battery Technologies Roadmap 2030+" highlights several promising alternative battery technologies to lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) that are under development or close to market maturity. These alternatives include various metal-ion, metal-sulfur, metal-air and redox-flow batteries, which have very different potential for specific applications.

The document provides a comprehensive overview of these technologies and compares them with LIBs in terms of technical performance, economic viability and environmental impact and different (expected) market entry times. It also promotes discussions on European technology sovereignty and addresses geopolitical concerns, drawing on extensive research and expert opinion.

Jan Felix Plumeyer from Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components PEM RWTH Aachen University gave the presentation "Next-Gen battery technology: Introduction to solid-state battery production".

This presentation aimed to emphasize the motivation behind the development of solid-state batteries and their key characteristics. In addition, the basic principles of solid-state battery technology were explained and an insight into the technical aspects of the production of this advanced battery technology was given.

Besides the exciting presentations, there was an intensive discussion in which the participants and speakers raised various questions and presented their views on the challenges and implications of current and future battery technologies and recommendations for their implementation.

The following comments illustrate the dimension of the topic, as it encompasses not only technological, but also ecological and socio-political aspects:

  • OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) play a fundamental role in the current and future context. They invest strategically in the development of systems, research and development as well as production technologies in order to secure a sustainable battery value chain.
  • In the field of electromobility, residual values are of great importance even before the start of production of a new vehicle. For electric cars, the battery residual value refers to the percentage of the original battery capacity that remains after a certain number of years of use. Therefore, the batteries are the main factor for the residual value, which in turn is expressed in an economic value. In addition to analyzing the existing methods for calculating this value, the question arises: Who owns the residual value of the end-of-life battery? The OEMs, the customers, the second-life operators or the recyclers?
  • Accurately estimating the SoH (State of Health) of batteries remains a major challenge. The unique nature of battery composition and the fact that battery ageing is a complex and non-linear process influenced by numerous intrinsic physical and chemical mechanisms as well as external operating conditions make this task challenging.
  • Digital battery passports: The introduction of digital battery passports will increase traceability and transparency along the value chain. Although this tool is not a magic solution to all problems in the supply chain, it is seen as a concrete symbol that gives hope for the development of more sustainable product and supply chains.
  • Battery disassembly: The difficulties in dismantling batteries must be reduced. This can be achieved through better protocols, but also in line with the implementation of circular design strategies and standards.
  • Costs of the circular economy: It is important to see the costs associated with the circular economy in the supply chain as elements that create sustainability and added value for society and the organizations themselves. These costs should not be seen as a bureaucratic burden that affects competitiveness. Furthermore, a more sustainable battery is feasible from both an economic and environmental perspective.