A new EU project called E-MAGIC (European Magnesium Interactive Battery Community) that was recently funded with 6.5 million euros, will focus on the development of a new type of magnesium-based battery for electrified vehicles, among other uses.
The project, which runs until the end of 2022 and is coordinated by the Spanish Fundación Cidetec, brings together the expertise of a total of ten scientific institutions, including the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), a research institute founded by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in cooperation with the University of Ulm and the partners DLR and ZSW.
More powerful, cheaper and safer than lithium-ion batteries: These are the targets that the scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and their cooperation partners hope for from the magnesium battery project. Magnesium as an anode material enables a higher energy density and would also be much safer. “Magnesium is a promising material and one of the most important candidates in our post-lithium strategy,” says Professor Maximilian Fichtner, Deputy Director of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU).
In E-MAGIC, the partners combine all the necessary steps for the development of magnesium batteries, from basic research to the processes involved in cell production. “The special challenge with magnesium batteries is a long service life,” explains Dr Zhirong Zhao-Karger, who coordinates the activities of the new research project in the Solid State Chemistry Research Group at HIU. Despite this, magnesium has numerous advantages that the scientists want to utilise: For example, no dendrites form on the magnesium anodes. In lithium-ion batteries, such electrochemical deposits on the electrodes can form needle-like structures and cause disturbances or even dangerous short circuits. “There are no comparable processes in magnesium. Therefore, we can use magnesium in metallic form and thus directly utilize the very high storage capacity of the metal. This increases the performance of the battery,” says Zhao-Karger. Perhaps most significantly though, magnesium is around 3,000 times more abundant on earth than lithium and significantly easier to recycle.