Germany and the Netherlands start cross-border battery development

Germany and the Netherlands are starting a cooperation on battery development for the European industry, by collaboration between two of their development nerve centers. The Dutch TNO Holst Center and the German Zentrum für Sonnenenergie un Wasserstoff-Forschung (ZSW) will join forces to remedy some of the pain points of the lithium-ion battery.

TNO and ZSW will combine their specific fields of expertise in a research project. The competencies of the Dutch center lie in a thin film, more accurately called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). This technology has been under study for more than fifteen years at TNO.

Solving issues with stability

From its side, ZSW is a specialist in battery materials and integration and works closely together with the Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut of the Universität Tübingen (NMI) for the identification and behavioral research of battery materials. As both competence centers have links with the automotive supply chains in their countries, there certainly looms a practical outlook in this cooperation.

Since the lithium family remains the dominant battery choice for a decent time, TNO and ZSW will address the current weaknesses involved, like stability. “Our spatial Atomic Layer Deposition technology significantly improves the stability of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, resulting in faster and higher charge rates,” says the director of TNO Ton van Mol.

From lithium to sodium

Van Mol added that existing gigafactories could seamlessly integrate their solution and are ready for scaled-up production. After addressing some of the flaws of lithium-ion batteries, the collaboration will focus in a second stage on developing sodium-ion batteries. This chemistry aims to minimize the dependence on rare-earth metals like lithium, but it currently features a lower energy density and a limited lifecycle.

The German-Dutch collaboration will run until the end of February 2025. Since it aims to develop and accelerate a cross-border battery ecosystem, the project is funded for €3,4 million by the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Margret Wohlfahrt-Mehrens, head of Electrochemical Materials Research, ZSW, adds: “It is high time to establish strong cross-border relationships and cooperation within the countries of the European Union. The development of lithium-ion batteries must be further accelerated to meet the European Union’s CO2 emission targets.”


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