Batteries

Batteries are electrical storage devices where chemical energy is converted into electrical energy in electrochemical cells. In our laboratory, we develop materials and processes for batteries in view of applications in electro-mobility and grid storage in the following projects:

Li-ion batteries

Lithium ion batteries enabled the success of portable electronics and dominate the global battery market.  The demand for high energy density batteries will further increase with the market trend towards electric vehicles and grid leveling applications. Further improvements in energy density and reduction in cost are key to enable a large scale deployment of batteries for these applications. Our activities focus on the development of a cost-effective lithium-ion high energy and high power battery technology based on abundant and environmentally friendly electrode materials.

Projects:

-   Swiss high energy density batteries - from advanced materials to a safe device (FAMSADI)

β-Alumina-based batteries

Molten salt batteries combine high power and very high specific energy densities thanks to their chemistry and specific cell design. The durability, reliability and safety of these batteries make them especially suitable for energy storage in stationary use, but also for many types of full and hybrid electric vehicles. Molten salt batteries have great advantages in hot climate and for frequent cycling where the life span of conventional batteries is reduced. They are produced from readily availabe non-toxic materials with recycling processes already in place.

Projects:

-   Development of β‘‘-alumina-based solid electrolytes (BASE) for sodium nickel chloride batteries with increased mechanical stability and conductance (SONIBAT)

Solid-state
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batteries

At high energy densities and large scale, absolute operational safety becomes a stringent requirement. Batteries using a solid state electrolyte instead of the conventional liquid electrolytes have a great potential to overcome the challenges of traditional lithium ion batteries. However, the development of next-generation solid-state electrolytes with high ionic conductivity nearing the conductivity of liquid electrolytes represents a major scientific challenge. Recent years witnessed promising discoveries of novel solid state ionic conductors. Fast lithium and sodium ion conductivity was reported in lightweight boron-hydrogen compounds. This unexpected discovery revealed a new class of superionic conductors, for which the origin of conductivity is yet to be revealed but opens new possibilities for high conductivity.

Projects:

-   Novel ionic conductors (NIC)

-   Ion mobility in lightweight compounds for energy storage (IONMOB)