Scientific questions and technological challenges
- The central scientific challenge for high capacity next generation batteries is to establish how these parasitic processes proceed (mechanism and kinetics) and how they depend on materials interface properties (chemistry, crystal orientation, surface termination). BatteryNL will develop simplified model systems and investigate these with novel and state-of-the-art operando techniques to gain vital comprehensive understanding.
- The subsequent challenge is to translate this understanding into strategies that enable control of those interface processes, by designing the interfaces, leading to selected scalable materials and interface engineering solutions that will lead to safer and more efficient batteries.
- The successful integration of new generation battery materials and technologies requires accurate analysis of costs and sustainability developments, detailed consideration of safety aspects, technology integration through collaboration with manufacturers and knowledge institutions, interaction with stakeholders. Battery experts have to be trained. Interrelated scientific, technological and societal challenges need to be addressed by academics, technologists, public associations, private/public parties and stakeholders within the framework and in connection to European initiatives.
The project is organized in six technical work packages (WP1-6), one work package involving collaboration, outreach and the creation of a Battery NL network (WP7), and one work package for the project management and data management (WP8).
WP1 > 2-dimensional Li-ion battery model systems: understanding interface reactions and strategies towards stable interfaces
- Synthesize 2-dimensional, thin film model systems consisting of the most promising anodes, cathodes and electrolytes for Li-ion battery generations 1-3.
- Gain insights into the parasitic reactions occurring at the anode/electrolyte and electrolyte/cathode interfaces and how these originate from interface properties defined by the model systems.
- Develop interface architectures which suppress/prevent the parasitic reactions, therefore leading to electrochemically and mechanically stable interfaces, along with efficient charge transfer and transport.
WP2 > Development of Interface Strategies and translation from 2D to 3D
- Develop 3D model electrode systems.
- Translate the most promising interface strategies developed in 2D in WP1 to be applied in 3D structured systems, building on these 3D model systems.
- Understand the effectivity of interface strategies employing liquid (Gen1), polymer-based (Gen2) and solid-state (gen3) electrolytes using the advanced techniques of WP3.
- Select the most promising interface strategies and start translating them to real battery systems and upscalable techniques that will be further developed and employed in WP4.
WP3 > Operando Characterization
- Development of surface- and interface-sensitive operando techniques and methods.
- Understand interface reactivity as well as diffusion phenomena in operating batteries.
WP4 > Upscaling strategies for interface engineered battery materials
- Investigate and develop concepts and processes for large-scale fabrication of the interface-engineered battery materials, researched within WP1 & 2, thereby stepping towards potentially upscalable materials and processes relevant for industry.
- Focus on anodes (Si and Li metal), cathodes (nickel rich layered transition metal oxides: NMCs) and electrolytes (solvent-free polymer-based, inorganic electrolytes based on oxides, halides, sulfides and complex metal hydrides, and hybrid electrolytes based on polymer-inorganic combination).
WP5 > Safety, Performance and integration
- Identify the relevant safety issues related to Li-ion batteries.
- Create a generic model to be used for the development of a BMS.
- Translate kinetic data from WP1-4 into the BMS model.
- Develop the electronics for the BMS.
- Analyse commercial batteries and project cells for input data for the above objectives as well as for the validation of those.
WP6 > Socio- and Techno-economic Studies
- Socio-economic studies.
- Development of learning curves for Li ion batteries.
- Techno-economic analysis.
- Energy system modelling, in order to assess overall competitiveness, also with respect to alternatives like petrol and H2.
WP7 > BatteryNL network, collaboration and outreach
- Set up the BatteryNL network.
- Organize and stimulate interaction and communication between the partners and with the stakeholders.
- Disseminate the results.
- Coordinate the education of the human capital on the full chain of battery technology.
Overview research topics of PhD candidates and Postdocs
PhD 1 - UT - Han Xue
Ph.D. thesis “Thin film model systems of high voltage cathode materials”
My research will focus on the development and analysis of thin film model systems of high voltage cathode (e.g. Ni-rich layered metal oxides and spinel oxides). The objective is to gain insights into the parasitic reactions occurring at the cathode-electrolyte interface and how these originate from interface properties defined by thin film model systems.
Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) will be used to create thin film model systems of cathode exhibiting atomically flat surfaces and tuneable lattice planes for investigating the reaction mechanisms at the interface between the cathode and the (liquid or solid) electrolyte. Moreover, the thin film model provides the possibility to study mechanical failure and parasitic electrochemical reactions occurring at the interface without the effects of binders and conductive materials.
Insights will be generated by electrochemical testing (e.g. cyclic voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy) as well as in situ and operando techniques (e.g. XRD, XPS), on how the electrochemical and mechanical behavior of the cathode-electrolyte interface is affected by the cathode chemistry and lattice plane, which will provide a perspective on concepts and processes for large-scale fabrication of the interface engineered battery materials.
PhD 2 - UT - Vacancy
PhD 3 - TU/e - Meike Peters
The key problem in the development of high capacity next generation batteries lies at the interfaces between the electrodes and the electrolyte. Using 2D model systems fabricated by atomic layer deposition (ALD), I investigate how the chemical composition and crystallographic properties of high-voltage cathodes affect the interface with (liquid and solid) electrolytes. Secondly, I engineer strategies to create (electro-)chemically and mechanically stable cathode/electrolyte interfaces, such as coating the cathode with an ultra-thin artificial cathode-electrolyte interphase (CEI).
PhD 4 - TU/e - Vacancy
PhD 5 - UU - Karan Kotalgi
PhD 6 - UU - Jonas Hehn
Ph.D. thesis “Interface effects in polymer-based hybrid electrolytes for all-solid-state lithium ion batteries”
Researchers have been focusing on the development of novel Lithium-ion conductive solid electrolytes for decades. These materials are intended to replace the flammable and therefore unsafe liquid electrolytes used in conventional Li-ion batteries. Generally, there are two types of solid electrolytes: inorganic solid electrolytes that can have, for example, high Li-ion conductivity but poor interfacial compatibility with the electrodes, and on the other hand there are elastic polymer-based electrolytes which posses good interfacial compatibilities with the electrodes, but often poor ionic conductivity especially at room temperature. [1,2]
In this project, I combine the two aforementioned types of electrolyte to synthesize polymer-based hybrid solid electrolytes. For this purpose, I will investigate new but also already known Li-compounds in combination with polymers and inorganic fillers. The synthesized materials will be characterized using a variety of techniques. The goal is to understand how interface effects at the polymer-Li salt-filler material interfaces influence the ionic conductivity and other electrochemical properties of the hybrid electrolytes. Particular emphasis will also be placed on a detailed understanding of the interface formation and the interaction between the hybrid electrolyte and the electrodes. The fundamental knowledge is crucial to developing new electrolytes with tailor-made properties for applications in all-solid-state Li-ion batteries.
 X. Yu, A. Manthiram, Energy Storage Mater., 2021, 34, 282-300.
 Y. Zhai, G. Yang, Z. Zeng, S. Song, S. Li, N. Hu, W. Tang, Z. Wen, L. Lu, J. Molenda, ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 2021, 4, 7973−7982
PhD 7 - TU/e - Vacancy
PhD 8 - UT - Vacancy
PhD 9 - RUG - Vacancy
PhD 10 - RUG - Vacancy
PhD 11 - RUG - Vacancy
PhD 12 - TUD - Vacancy
PhD 13 - TUD - Vacancy
PhD 14 - TUD - Vacancy
PhD 15 - UU - Vacancy
PhD 16 - UvA - Vacancy
PhD 17 - TUD - Vacancy
PD 1 - UU - Vacancy
PD 2 - TU/e - Vacancy
PD 3 - TUD - Vacancy
PD 4 - UT - Vacancy
PD 5 - RUG - Luuk Kortekaas
Operando analysis of Li-ion battery performance
My main focus is on developing novel (operando) battery performance assessment techniques at surfaces and interfaces. 2D single crystal thin film models from WP1 and realistic 3D electrodes from WP2 and WP4 will be investigated for their chemical composition, electronic structure, surface topography and Li-ion transport from nanometer to micrometer length scales. Advancing state-of-the-art operando spectroscopic techniques such as GI-XAS and operando XANES mapping will allow for more intricate analysis of battery systems and, moreover, pinpointing bottleneck problems in battery prototypes.