We interviewed Margaud Lécuyer, Electrochemistry Innovation Manager at Blue Solutions (Bolloré Group).

What are the major challenges battery technologies face in the coming 5 to 10 years?

I think that in the 5 next years, what would be challenging for the battery field would be to move from low production to very high production levels, especially from the supply chain point of view. What would be very difficult is to find and produce very high-quality materials.

And also, from the recycling point of view, what would be tricky would be to reuse the materials we can recycle, not only take the elements back, but reuse them in order to not to have to count on new resources in countries where it is quite difficult to verify that the supply chain is ok on the economical, and the human point of view.

Another aspect is also about standardization; I think a major challenge for battery manufacturing will be to standardize the cells so they can be integrated into all the systems without impact on the customer.

What technological alternative to conventional lithium do you see as the most promising for the future?

I think that there are several alternatives. The first one will be to develop more fuel cells, for example. Regarding hydrogen, I think that a lot of applications can be used with a kind of alternative, and I really think that fuel cells are a good way to supply quite constant energy or power delivery, and maybe batteries could be there just for the peak power needs.

Another alternative would also be, of course, sodium-ion batteries, but there are a lot of challenges today that are remaining, so I’m not sure that in the short time, they will be industrializable.

How would you encourage young people to go for a career in the energy storage sector?

I think that energy storage is a very good sector because it’s very open; there are a lot of things to do… In the energy industry, we need some people specialized in chemistries, some people specialized in electricity, in physics... in many things, in fact. So, whatever your field, whatever your experience, you can find someplace to work. There are a lot of different positions, a lot of jobs that are different. You can be an expert in science, but you can also work more on the process inside; you can work on the economic point of view... So, I think that the energy sector is so big, so large, that there are so many things to do that everyone can find his way inside this sector.

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