EU-based battery company Exide Technologies, the Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón (INMA) and the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) have launched a new European research project using neutron diffraction in a bid to improve the lifetime of energy storage batteries.
The hi-tech process, which images the entire crystal structure of the battery as it operates, allows battery experts to observe and control the processes impacting battery life and performance.
The project utilises the NG6 cold neutron imaging instrument at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, US) to provide imaging for the European team of scientists from Exide and INMA.
Photo credit: INMA
As countries target rapid carbon reduction in the battle to halt climate change, battery energy storage is set to be one of the defining technologies of the century, with demand predicted to grow to 20,000 MWh by 2025. Advanced lead batteries are a critical part of this landscape, with Europe home to leading manufacturing, recycling and research capability.
Scientists will be joining forces from INMA, a joint institute between one of Spain’s oldest universities, the University of Zaragoza, and the largest public research institution in Spain and third largest in Europe, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Exide Technologies, a global battery company through one of its R&D centres based near Madrid based near Madrid. They will study the fundamental processes that govern recharge efficiency and battery electrode failure using a suite of neutron beamline experiments.
This is an example of the research and innovation that are being conducted as the EU prepares to become a world-leader in sustainable battery technology and manufacturing,
Through a specific focus on battery electrodes, which transfer energy to and from the electrolyte in order to power the polarised device to which they connect, neutron diffraction will be used to study the batteries in operation across different duty cycles.
For energy storage applications, many of which incorporate renewable energy elements, advanced lead batteries operate at partial-state-of-charge (PSoC) and in high depth-of-discharge (DoD), both demanding duty cycles.
Director of CBI, Dr Alistair Davidson, said: “This information is a critical part of our advanced battery research program which aims to ensure advanced lead batteries continue to innovate to meet heightened demand for clean, renewable energy storage across the globe”.
Neutron diffraction not only maps the activity of the surface of the electrodes, but the entire electrode and electrolyte present in the battery. This provides a complete picture of how battery electrodes are changing at the micro-level, something never-before done in lead battery research.
By describing the electrode phenomena that govern battery lifetime, the research is generating new information on how to control the active material and maximise battery life in all applications for advanced lead batteries.
Demand for clean energy storage continues to soar across Europe and further afield, and pioneering research will be significant in ensuring advanced lead batteries continue to innovate to meet the future technical requirements of these systems.
Originally published by Consortium for Battery Innovation.
Read more for how the lead battery value chain embodies the European Commission’s ambitions for a green and sustainable future
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