Development of novel battery technology yielding significantly improved battery performance and reduced production cost is the main objective of Research Area 1 (lead by NTNU).

The work in RA1 is intended to support existing Norwegian Industry to access and strengthen their share of the international battery market. The Center focuses on improving the overall characteristics of batteries, and hereby provide meaningful and reliable information on performance. The Research Partners have complementary competence and extended infrastructures (for manufacturing, characterization, and testing), which is used to develop and study individual components as well as their interaction.

Both “energy batteries” and “power batteries” are investigated

The energy density is of major importance in electric vehicles, and lithium ion batteries (LIBs) with NMC (Li(Ni/Mn/Co)O2), or NCA (Li(Ni/Co/Al)O2) cathodes are therefore generally preferred for this application. For hybrid system applications (e.g. HEVs), the power density can be equally important, and batteries with more stable chemistries such as LTO (Li4Ti5O12)/LFP (LiFePO4), and even NiMH batteries must be considered. Chemistries based on Ni and Co related materials have issues with costs and toxicity, which must be overcome if they are to be used in high voltage LIBs.

In order to achieve significant improvements in the energy density of conventional LIBs, a three-fold approach is taken to improve the anode, cathode, and electrolyte. This is also the focus of the first three research tasks in RA1. NiMH batteries are the preferred option for HEVs by major automobile makers (e.g. Toyota Prius and Mirai), and can also be a suitable option for applications with very demanding charging behavior (e.g. regenerative braking in trains). Hence, some large component manufacturing companies have recently announced renewed efforts in this field. RA1 includes close collaboration with suppliers of both Li-ion (SAFT, ZEM, and PBES) and NiMH batteries (BASF).