The initiative, in which 15 entities take part under the coordination of CIC energiGUNE, has been included in the EU Horizon Europe call for the promotion of projects linked to the development of high-performance batteries.

CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in battery storage, thermal energy solutions and hydrogen technologies, and member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance-BRTA, has started work on the development of new solid-state halide batteries that will facilitate the take-off of electric aviation. This work is part of the European Project HELENA, whose kick-off meeting is being held since yesterday at the headquarters of CIC energiGUNE with the attendance of the 15 entities that, under the leadership of the Basque center, are part of the initiative.

“In five to ten years, electric aviation will be ready to take-off and it is urgent for the sector to have an energetic alternative that offers safety and efficiency”, has said Pedro López-Aranguren, coordinator and Principal Investigator of the project. “HELENA proposes a disruptive technology to design solid-state batteries with optimized performance at high currents and stable cycling that will allow the adoption of these batteries in the electric vehicles and, specially, in airplanes”, he has assured.

Specifically, HELENA’s objective is to develop safe and efficient solid-state batteries with high energy density and potency, based on a high voltage active material, a high capacity lithium-metal anode and a conductive lithium halide electrolyte. With this development, the final user will be able to take advantage of improved performace in long distances electric mobility and fast battery charging. Moreover, the scaling of the technology will allow a cost reduction in the manufacturing of these storage devices.

This proposal led by CIC energiGUNE, which has been included by the European Commission in its Horizon Europe funding program for batteries, has broyght toghether 15 organizations and companies, including the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Belgian company Umicore, LionVolt, from The Netherlands, the German company CustomCells and the Fraunhofer research center.

HELENA will also contribute to deal with two of Europe’s biggest challenges. On the one hand, to promote the energy transition of the continent, -and of the planet as a whole- towards a “neutral” climate scenario, and on the other hand, to avoid dependence on the current dominator of the battery production market, Asia.

“The award of this Horizon Europe project under the leadership of CIC energiGUNE once again highlights our position as a reference center for solid-state batteries in Europe”, has said Montse Casas, Technology Coordinator of the Electrochemical Storage Area at CIC energiGUNE. “Moreover, with the HELENA project we take responsibility for giving wings to a sector, that of electric aviation, which is going to be essential in the new global mobility model and which is going to place us at the forefront of its development”.

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