Manufacturing batteries is a strategic imperative for Europe, both for the transition towards clean energies and modernisation, as well as for the competitiveness of its industry, in particular the automotive sector. LIST is doing its bit by working on the design of new cellular batteries.
In 2018, LIST set up a partnership with the engineering company XNRGI to design 3D microbatteries. The aim of this collaboration, which is supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) through the BRIDGES programme, is to place key, nanoscale materials inside the pores of silicon batteries in order to improve energy and power density, and to speed up the development of these batteries.
To this end, LIST's materials department will provide its expertise in the ALD process (Atomic Layer Deposition). This process, used in the semiconductor industry, consists of alternately exposing a surface to different chemical precursors (co-reactants) to obtain ultra-thin layers that are controlled at the atomic level. LIST is already producing samples and anticipates transferring this technology in three years' time, with the ultimate goal of industrialising the process.
Battery manufacture is a hot topic at the European level. In 2018, the European Commission implemented a Strategic Action Plan on Batteries aimed at making the European Union (EU) the sector leader. Batteries will be crucial to the automotive industry of the 21st century. If the EU wants to maintain its leading position, not only in the automotive sector, but also in the clean energy systems sector, it must equip itself with an independent capacity for battery development and manufacture. At present, the EU has no capacity for the mass production of battery cells. It relies on foreign, primarily Asian, suppliers.
The partnership with XNRGI confirms LIST's credibility and, even more, that of Luxembourg, in the world of cellular battery research.