The Basque research center is participating in the European HighSpin project, led by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), with the aim of developing higher-performing, safer and more sustainable high-voltage materials, cells and modules than those currently available. The consortium, involving 14 institutions from across Europe, considers that this technology, which will be applicable to both ground and airborne electric mobility, has the potential for rapid industrialization.

CIC energiGUNE, member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA) and the leading energy storage Basque research center specialised in batteries, thermal energy solutions and hydrogen technologies, has begun working on the development of a high-performing, safe and sustainable high-voltage LNMO (cobalt-free) cell. The work is part of the European HighSpin project, in which CIC energiGUNE is involved along with thirteen other companies and organizations from across Europe.

"Beyond developing more sustainable and higher-performing Li-ion batteries, in this project we will pay particular attention to its recyclability, targeting a recycling efficiency of 90% at almost 99.9% purity", said Marine Reynaud, Principal Investigator of the project at CIC energiGUNE and recent winner of the BRTA Prize in Research Projection awarded by the Basque Government. "HighSpin is expected to reach the market in the short term, specifically in 2028 for electric vehicles and in 2030 for aeronautics", she added.

HighSpin is one of 8 projects approved by the European Commission within the current Horizon Europe call in which CIC energiGUNE is taking part. In fact, the Basque research center achieved a maximum success rate in this call, obtaining EC approval for 8 of the 9 projects in which it is taking part, all of them linked to the development of high-performance batteries.

Specifically, the work to be taken forward within HighSpin, a project led by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), is focused on the development of materials, cells and modules for a generation 3b LNMO||Si/C battery– including a cobalt-free high-voltage spinel cathode and a high-capacity anode of carbon and silicon - that will provide effective solutions to current options. Once the technology has demonstrated its viability for automotive and aeronautic applications, HighSpin leaders envisage a short industrialization pathway.

The development of the LNMO||Si/C technology on which HighSpin is based is linked to the previous European project 3beLiEVe, in which CIC energiGUNE also participated. The project activities now encompass the stabilization of the active materials by optimizing their microstructure, the development of high-voltage electrolyte formulations, high-speed laser-structuring of the electrodes and the inclusion of operando sensors in the form of a chip-based Cell Management Unit (CMU). Recyclability and second life studies of the materials also form part of this work to ensure that the technology is sustainable.

Market estimates associated with the development of HighSpin envisage the distribution of more than 40 GWh/year and a EUR 4 billion/year sales volume by 2030.


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