Promising Future of Energy Storage: Seven (7) Ongoing Research Projects you Should Know.

energy storage research projects

One of our recommended ways to encourage the proliferation of energy prosumers highlighted the importance of efficient energy storage technology to the sustainability of decentralized power grids and, consequently, renewable energy.

To improve the current situation of existing storage systems, relevant studies must be carried out, especially on the reinvention and modification of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). BESS, in recent years, have proven to be ideally compatible with smart grid systems. 

What this means for the future of energy sustainability and the EU climate-neutrality goals is that storage batteries are sacrosanct because of their accessibility and affordability. In this post, we discuss some of the ongoing energy storage research projects:

1. BAT4EVER

During continuous charge and discharge sequences, batteries experience micro-damage and material loss. This occurrence is a certainty, and the only possible way to sustain batteries despite this defect is to make batteries heal themselves. Making this a possibility is the focus of BAT4EVER.

The energy storage research program, which is one of the six Battery 2030+ research projects, was launched and is being coordinated by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium, to invent ultra-high performance batteries, bring breakthrough technologies to the European battery ecosystem, and to encourage futural European leadership in current markets and emerging applications. 

BAT4EVER So Far

The energy storage research program was launched in September 2020 and is stipulated to be concluded in August 2023. So far, the following remarkable achievements have been accomplished:

  • Ionic liquids have successfully been included in the ion gels with self-healing capability.
  • Cathode electrodes with shell material have been made producible. 
  • Polymers for self-healing anodes have been optimized, and initial electrochemical tests on arbitrary cells have been carried out.

As it stands, cathode electrodes with shell material have been produced and need to be optimized. The optimization and scaling processes are still in the works.

Storage batteries that can repair themselves are some of the core needs of the energy ecosystem right now, and this possibility depends on the success of this research.

2. Battery Interface Genome-Materials Acceleration Program (BIG-MAP)

BIG-MAP, another Battery 2030+ energy storage research project, was initiated and supervised by Danmarks Tekniske Universitet DTU, Denmark, to introduce innovative fast-tracking methods and improve battery discovery and invention using Artificial Intelligence (AI). In summary, the research aims to help increase the production of ultra-high performance ten times.

BIG-MAP's key objective is to create an autonomous "self-driving" laboratory that can design and synthesize new and better battery interfaces and materials.

BIG-MAP So Far

Two years after the inception of the energy storage research project, the specific objectives required to achieve the aim have been identified:

  • Development of the scientific and technological models for speedy battery discovery. 
  • Delivery of initiatives to ensure good use of project data across the battery discovery value chain. 
  • Reaching out to the battery community across the battery value chain to accelerate the EU battery development.

A model, FullProfApp, has been developed to further the first objective. By the end of the research, the world will have been granted an innovative way to accelerate the proliferation of improved storage batteries. 

3. HIDDEN

The third Battery 2030+ energy storage research project, HIDDEN, just like BAT4EVER, was conceptualized and is being monitored by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland, to develop self-healing processes for batteries. 

In addition to this, Hidden aims to beat the extent to which the density of Li-ion batteries can be increased by 50% in Li-metal batteries. Batteries with higher densities have a longer run time than those with lower densities. The implication of these aims is the production of small-sized self-healing batteries that can run for long.

HIDDEN So Far

44% of Europe's carbon emission comes from transportation, 27% of which is from cars. With Li-ion batteries in cars, these emissions are significantly reduced. Li-ion batteries, however, suffer from dendrite growth which impairs their lifetime. HIDDEN aims to solve this problem by reducing dendrite growth with the model that has been developed. 

4. INSTABAT

INSTABAT is an ongoing energy storage research being monitored by Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, France. It was launched to develop techniques that will help monitor key parameters of a Li-ion battery cell; develop higher accurate states of charge, health, power, energy, and safety indicators.

INSTABAT hopes to achieve this by developing smart sensing technologies and functionalities that are embedded into a battery cell and can read and report parameters such as temperature, heat flow, pressure, strain, Lithium concentration and distribution, CO2 concentration and distribution, absolute impedance, and polarisation. 

By the end of this research, storage battery owners will have been able to effectively monitor the states of their batteries so that they can take the relevant steps to correct the rectifiable. In addition, this research also helps to optimize battery life and performance by helping battery owners prevent possible battery failure.

5. SENSIBAT

SENSIBAT, incepted by Ikerlan Technology Research Centre, Spain, shares a common goal with INSTABAT. In addition to building sensing technologies to monitor the states of Li-ion battery cells, the energy storage research also aims to achieve the self-healing capability of Li-ion batteries by studying the recyclability of cells and making cost-benefit analyses for the batteries with these monitoring sensors. Another major objective of the research is integrating the developed sensor 1Ah and 5Ah pouch battery cells.

The outcome of this research will not only enable close monitoring and maintenance of storage batteries but will also implement self-healing capability as well as improved material discovery. 

SENSIBAT So Far

SENSIBAT has been able to integrate sensors that estimate the electrochemical performance of battery cells.

Furthermore, the production of Level One Sensors has begun and is expected to have been finalized by the first half of the research duration.

6. SPARTACUS

SPARTACUS is the other side of INSTABAT coin. That is, it's research with a global focus on increasing battery situation awareness and consequently improving battery maintenance. The method that SPARTACUS brings, however, is slightly different. The sensors being developed in this energy storage research detect degradation and failure mechanisms just before a loss of performance. This feature can be likened to the "battery low" signal your gadgets sound to you to make you take the next necessary step. 

What we'll benefit from this research are:

  • Batteries can run for multiple lives. 
  • Advanced battery management system. 

7. Affordable High-performance Green REdox floW batteries (HIGREEW) 

HIGREEW aims to develop and validate advanced REdox floW batteries. The research, which began in November 2019 and is being monitored by Centro De Investigacion Cooperativa De Energias Alternativas Fundacion, Cic Energigune Fundazioa, Spain, hopes to achieve storage batteries based on new water-soluble, low-cost organic electrolyte for high energy density and longevity. 

HIGREEW Objectives

  • Specifications definitions
  • Materials and components optimization
  • Stack design and engineering
  • Battery prototype 

The success of this research will result in the development of more environmentally sustainable batteries with greater power and energy densities while also offering longer lives.

CONCLUSION 

Research is the backbone of innovation. In their variegated aims and objectives, the studies discussed in this post all share one common goal: the sustainability of renewable energy. The successes of these studies will leave humongous positive impacts on the EU decarbonization goals.

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