The EU-funded project COBRA (CObalt-free Batteries for FutuRe Automotive Applications) aims to develop next-generation cobalt-free batteries. The project also aims to eliminate the need for other critical materials.
The research project began at the beginning of this year and will run until 2024, involving 19 partners. These include, for example, the Technical University of Ingolstadt, two Fraunhofer Institutes and Infineon from Germany, as well as the companies Liacon and Aentron. The international partners include, for example, Stockholm University and the University of Uppsala, but also companies and institutes from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Turkey and Spain.
The targets include a cell energy density of over 750 Wh/l, the service life of more than 2,000 cycles and maximum costs of 90 euros/kWh at package level when entering commercial production. For battery packs, a fast-charging capacity of 3C should also to be achieved. This would mean that a 100 kWh pack should, therefore, be able to be charged with up to 300 kW. The battery pack being developed should not only be 50 per cent lighter but should also be able to be validated on a test bench suitable for electric cars.
The project is not only concerned with the performance requirements for the technology but also its sustainability. In addition to dispensing with cobalt, other toxic or rare elements are to be eliminated. At the same time, the project aims to make it possible to recycle 95 per cent of the metal components. Overall, the CO2 footprint of the end product is to be reduced, and part of this should already be achieved by dispensing with some of the materials and their supply chains.
Regarding the safety of the cells, the project homepage states that the housing should be able to withstand a fire of 800 degrees for at least 30 minutes. From within, the flammability of batteries should be reduced in the temperature range of -40 to 100 degrees Celsius.
By involving “leading organisations for battery production” in the project, the partners hope that the technology developed can be easily adapted to existing production lines, which would greatly increase market acceptance.
The project is receiving 11.8 million euros in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
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