The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is flexing its investment muscles and dumping 16 million euros into the research of next generation solid state batteries, according to a recent press release from the group.
“If we want people to take advantage of the opportunities offered by electromobility, we need to use research to show how it works,” Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek said. “The battery is the key to more range and faster charging. We need to get ahead of batteries and get more power. The competence is available in Germany and we will now accelerate the transfer. That is also a question of value added in our country. “
The new ‘cluster group’ being formed will look for directly applications of the latest research into solid state batteries, with automotive applications being one of the key interest areas. Solid state batteries do not require the liquid electrolyte that is present in the dominant lithium ion chemistry. The new group will focus primarily on developing new battery production solutions for solid state batteries, as manufacturing has proven to be the more difficult, and more costly, part of bringing the new technology to market.
By developing a fully uniform, solid chemistry, researchers believe they can increase the energy density of batteries, allowing more storage capacity to be packed into smaller packages. The chemistry of solid state cells also promises increased internal chemical availability, which researchers are looking at to unlock a step change increase in charging speeds, at up to 27x faster than current chemistries.
The Justus Liebig University Giessen in Hesse will lead the research effort. 16 million euros sure feels like a single drop of liquid into the tank when compared to the 40 billion the Volkswagen Group alone is investing into electromobility, but it is a start.