CIC energiGUNE has consolidated its position as a European benchmark in battery research and development and has strengthened its leading role in technology transfer to the Basque industry in this sector. To this, we must add the presentation of BASQUEVOLT (our second spinoff, after BCARE), a 100% success rate in European projects and greater recognition of its research team.

CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in electrochemical energy storage, thermal energy storage and conversion and hydrogen technologies, has closed off its 2022 fiscal year with an increase in participation and leadership in European projects, as well as in the creation of disruptive transferable knowledge for the industry. Moreover, the center, member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance-BRTA, has managed to increase the international recognition of its workforce, which has allowed the center to consolidate itself in the past year as an entity of European reference on matters of energy storage.

“During this year we have managed to consolidate ourselves as one of the most important research centers not only in Europe, but in the world in the field of energy storage, and the recent recognition that the European Commission itself has given us simply reasserts that” has declared general manager Nuria Gisbert. “Out work, determination, talent, professionalism, perseverance and above all believing in what we do and having a clear objective, is what, for yet another year, puts us in the cutting-edge group in the scientific research of the electrochemistry, thermal and hydrogen fields”, she has assured.

One of the most important milestones of the 2022 fiscal year for CIC energiGUNE was the signing of the pact of partners and the launch of BASQUEVOLT, the second spin-off that emerged from CIC energiGUNE after BCARE. The Basque initiative to develop its own pioneering technology in the field of solid-state batteries aspires to start the production of cells in 2027, with the objective of reaching 10GWh capacity. It is a strategic plan that is called to contribute in the development of Europe both in the race for batteries as well as in the storage industry, which is key to being able to advance in the energetic transition.

“Through BASQUEVOLT, we are looking to keep meeting our big objective and commitment, which is to generate scientific transferable knowledge to the industry, promoting this way an impact of great value in our immediate environment and contributing to the positioning and competitiveness of the Basque industrial network” has underlined Sara Ortiz, director of Strategy of the Center and member of the internal promoter team of BASQUEVOLT.

Beyond this milestone, as far as funding is concerned, 2022 has been the first year in which 30% of private billing has been reached, thanks to the development of 74 projects with industrial companies and agents. Another relevant milestone is that more than half of the projects and funding -55% in both cases- come from collaborations with Basque companies, which reinforces even further the orientation of CIC energiGUNE towards the most immediate regional ecosystem.

Distinguished leader in the development of European projects

Another great achievement of CIC energiGUNE in 2022 has been the obtaining of a success rate of a 100% in the funding program of the EC Horizon Europe in the call for batteries. The 9 projects in which the Basque center participates in have been included in the list of approved proposals, achievement that is within reach of very few organizations. All the projects are linked to the development of high-performance batteries, focused both on electromobility as well as other applications, which reinforces the position of the center as a European reference on solid-state batteries.

In this sense, CIC energiGUNE leads one of these projects, HELENA, whose objective is to develop solid-state halide batteries for electric vehicles and, speciallu, for aircrafts, since it is believed that electric aviation will be ready for takeoff in the next 5 or 10 years. In the rest of the projects, the Basque center acts as a strategic partner of research, ADVAGEN stands out, which pursues the development of a new technology of lithium metal battery cell based on a solid-state hybrid electrolyte that is safe, reliable and high performing; or PULSELiON, which has as an objective to facilitate the manufacturing of solid-state “Gen 4b” batteries suing a new technique of laser deposition.

Also part of this list are the projects BEST, the new technical secretariat of ETIP Batteries Europe; GIGAGREEN, designed to promote the next generation of processing techniques of cells and electrode components; SPINMATE, which has as an objective to put into practice a control line with a scalable, sustainable, safe and profitable digital concept; HIGHSPIN, for the development of a battery of a higher voltage that is free of cobalt; and SEATBELT, for the development of low-cost battery cells with a high power density, better safety and a sustainable design.

CIC energiGUNE closed 2022 with more private funding, a high rate of projects approved by Europe and new recognitions to its team

Recognition for the center and the team

As far as recognitions are concerned, it needs to be highlighted that the Basque center is listed as the most important research foundation in Spain and in all the Ibero-American countries independent of the scientific field, according to the ranking SCImago, which every year it established the classification of the main research entities of the world. The 2022 information show that the Basque center is the seventh most relevant Foundation of the planet if all the science fields are taken into account and that, in addition, in global and general terms, is at the top 500 of the world, the top 200 of Western Europe and top 25 at a state level.

Furthermore, as Nuria Gisbert reminded, in its recent report Batteries for Energy Storage in the European Union, the European Commission places CIC energiGUNE as an “outstanding example” in the field of research and development of batteries.

At a staff level, currently made up by a 180 professionals, in 2022 different members of its teams of researchers have received various awards. Among them are the six scientists in the  “Ranking of the World Scientists”, prepared by Stanford University in collaboration with the academic publisher Elsevier and considered the ranking of reference with the best researchers in the world; the inclusion of Michel Armand in the prestigious list “Highly Cited Researchers”, which the company ClarivateAnalytics annually carries out and his recognition as “Fellow of the Electrochemical Society”; the awarding of a Grant ‘Ramón y Cajal’ to researcher Yaroslav Grosu, the naming of Javier Carrasco and Daniel Carriazo as new IkerbasqueProfessor, -that join Elena Palomo and Paramaconi Rodríguez in this category.

Research work and social commitment

During the past year more than a hundred publications have been registered, of which 75% have been published in high-impact journals. Regarding the number of deposited patents, in 2022 they increase to a total of seven, some of them in joint ownership with both international entities as well as agents of the Basque Science and Technology Network. This way, with these seven new patents the Center reaches the number of 28 families of active patents, 10 of which have been licensed.

Likewise, CIC energiGUNE has acted as a dynamic agent of the sector with distinguished actions such as the V Congress “Power Our Future”, celebrated in Vitoria-Gasteiz in the presence of the principal European actors. The organization specially emphasized the level of training in the industry in order to set in motion the production of solid-state batteries, and the presentation of new advances made in the metal-ion technologies alternative to lithium, such as sodium and potassium. 

CIC energiGUNE also carried out during the past year initiatives of social significance in collaboration with the City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Innobasque, BIC Araba and the Technology Parks of the Basque Country, participating in activities such as the anniversart of the Green Capital of the town in Álava, Ikasekiten, STEAM Sare and the Forum of the Experience –among others-, in order to promote entrepreneurship, and the scientific and technological vocations.

In addition, within the framework of its Strategic Plan, the center kept promoting the cultural transformation of the organization through different activities geared towards reinforcing the essential values of the center, especially scientific excellence and its impact in the business environment. Among these activities stood out the coaching workshops with the teams of the center and the program of Mentoring for doctoral students, which in 2022 reached its second edition.

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