ECO COM’BAT opens up new approach to enhance sustainability of high-voltage batteries


Electromobility sets challenging requirements for new high-performance batteries – cruising range, life span, safety, or charging times, to mention only a few. An intrinsic challenge is the resource need for a growing number of big car batteries. Ten partners from industry and research organizations successfully joined forces in the EU funded project ECO COM’BAT to develop a sustainable next generation of high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. EnergyVille/VITO was partner in the project.

The objective of the EIT RawMaterials project ECO COM’BAT was to combine green and high-performance materials and to upscale their production for the next generation of high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. ECO COM’BAT was coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC and carried out in the period from April 2016 to December 2018. With the materials producers Arkema and Umicore, the cell manufacturers SAFT and Customcells, the research and technology organizations Fraunhofer, CEA, CSIC, ENEA, VITO, and the Technical University Darmstadt, the project participants covered all edges of the knowledge triangle along the battery value chain.

Reduction of critical materials

Compared to conventional batteries the new type should be more powerful and with regard to the materials used even more sustainable. “The main task of the ECO COM’BAT project was to substitute conventional, often expensive, rare or even critical materials as cobalt in the electrodes and of fluorine in the electrolyte”, explains project coordinator Dr. Andreas Bittner from Fraunhofer ISC. For this purpose the project team adapted and optimized ORMOCER® coated, low-cobalt NMC 622 and a special highvoltage electrolyte based on the conductive salt lithium-bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI), which can be operated stably even at high voltages, to the battery requirements. This leads to approximately 20 percent reduction of cobalt content and a reduction of electrolyte fluorine content by two thirds. In addition, the structured carbon additives Porocarb® and Graphistrength® were applied to further increase the energy and power density. The sustainable materials were integrated in pouch cells on a pilot level, which showed an improved performance (up to 50 % better cycle stability at 4.3 V) in comparison to cells with industrial reference samples.

Upscaling to pilot production level

To come from experimental laboratory level to producibility, usually several upscaling steps are necessary. Within the ECO COM’BAT project the partners combined innovative materials with well-known production properties in order to come up with only a few upscaling steps to a relevant pilot level of batch sizes with up to 20kilograms. For the optimization of the ECO COM’BAT materials and cells, a comprehensive simulation of the battery performance and aging was performed by VITO/EnergyVille. Moreover, an efficient recycling concept was developed and tested to recover precious materials like nickel, cobalt, graphite and lithium and to achieve a high degree of sustainability. The commercial impact of the project results for a new generation of sustainable high-voltage batteries, is promising, as the different battery materials shows excellent performance and processing properties. The materials are ready for the nearto-production upscaling once enough market demand is obtained.

This activity has received funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

We use cookies or similar technologies (e.g. pixels or social media plug-ins) to optimise your user experience on our website, among other things. In addition, we wish to use analytical and marketing cookies to personalise your visit to our website, to send targeted advertisements to you, and to give us more insight into your use of our website.

Do you consent to our use of cookies for an optimal website experience, so that we can improve our website and surprise you with advertisements? Then confirm with ‘OK’.

Conversely, would you like to set specific preferences for different types of cookies? This can be done via our Cookie Policy. Would you like more information about our use of cookies or how to delete cookies? Please read our Cookie Policy.