Imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics, digital and energy technologies and partner in EnergyVille, announces today at the European Electric Vehicle Batteries Summit (Berlin, June18-19) a solid-state Li-metal battery cell with an unsurpassed energy density of 400 Wh/liter at a charging speed of 0.5C (2 hours). Imec also announced that they have started to upscale the materials and processes in a pilot line for fabrication of solid-state pouch cells at the EnergyVille Campus in Genk (Belgium) and is set-up in collaboration with the University of Hasselt. With its engineering roadmap for solid-state batteries, imec aims to surpass wet Li-ion battery performance and reach 1000Wh/L at 2-3C by 2024.
Today’s rechargeable Li-ion battery technology still has room for improvement, but not enough to significantly improve e.g. the range and autonomy of electrical vehicles. Therefore, imec’s researchers are working to replace the wet electrolyte with a solid material, which provides a platform to further increase the energy density of the cell beyond that of cells based on liquid electrolyte. The solid nanocomposite electrolyte that the R&D center has developed has an exceptionally high conductivity of up to 10 mS/cm with a potential for even higher conductivities. A distinguishing feature of the new material is that it is applied as a liquid via wet chemical coating and only afterwards converted into a solid when it is already in place in the electrodes. That way it is perfectly suited to be casted into dense powder electrodes where it fills all cavities and makes maximum contact, just as a liquid electrolyte does.
Using that solid nanocomposite electrolyte in combination with a standard lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode and lithium metal anode, imec has now fabricated an improved battery with an energy density of 400 Wh/liter at a charging speed of 0.5C (2 hours), a record combination for a solid-state battery. With this result, imec managed to double its excellent results of last year, following its roadmap to eventually reach densities over1,000Wh/liter at a charging speed of 2-3C (less than half an hour).
In addition, imec has commenced the upscaling of the cells in a state-of-the-art lab for this new solid-state battery technology, including a 300 square meter battery assembly pilot line which includes a dry room of 100 square meters. This conventional A4 sheet-to-sheet wet coating-based line is well suited for processing of imec’s innovative solid electrolyte. As such, the assembly of the new cells could be done by slight modification of existing manufacturing lines for Li-ion batteries. This means the new technology would not need expensive investments to switch from wet to solid-state cells. The new pilot line, which is located at the EnergyVille Campus, and is set-up together with the university of Hasselt, allows manufacturing of prototype pouch cells of up to 5Ah capacity. It is ready to become a cornerstone for research groups and companies doing R&D projects on these batteries.
“The new battery demonstrates that our breakthrough electrolyte can be integrated in performant batteries. The pilot-line allows us to take the next step and upscale the battery breakthrough to industrially relevant processes and formats, using manufacturing processes similar to those for wet batteries,” says Philippe Vereecken, Scientific Director at imec/EnergyVille.
Bringing innovative battery technology to fruition and transfer it to the market will require the involvement and commitment of the world’s major material suppliers and battery producers. Therefore, imec performs its battery R&D as a collaborative program for open innovation to which it invites all interested parties.
Imec (imec-int.com) is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics, digital and energy technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 546 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Government of Flanders), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).
EnergyVille is a collaboration between the Flemish research partners KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt in the field of sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. Our researchers provide expertise to industry and public authorities on energy-efficient buildings and intelligent networks for a sustainable urban environment. This includes, for example, smart grids and advanced district heating and cooling.
One of the objectives of EnergyVille is to become one of the top five European institutes in innovative energy research. In this context, the center was embedded in major national and international networks right from the start. It covers research, development, training and innovative industrial activities under one name and in close collaboration with local, regional and international partners.
EnergyVille aims to be a driver in the Thor science park in Genk in the areas of research, business development and employment creation. The research center is supported by the city of Genk, the Flemish Government, the Province of Limburg, LRM, Nuhma, POM Limburg and the European structural funds.
About Hasselt University
Hasselt University (Dutch: Universiteit Hasselt, UHasselt) is a university with campuses in Hasselt and Diepenbeek, Belgium. The university has six faculties (Law, Sciences, Business Economics, Medicine & Life Sciences, Architecture & Arts and Engineering Technology) and six research institutes (which cover a wide range of research areas: biomedical, environmental, statistical, material, transportation research and media technology research). UHasselt (uhasselt.be) is home to about 6,000 students and 1,200 academic, administrative and technical staff members.