The event organized by the Basque research center in Vitoria-Gasteiz, which brought together 140 leading professionals from all over the world at the Palacio Europa from 5 to 8 July, provided an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in advanced materials, sustainability, safety and manufacturability in the field of batteries.

CIC energiGUNE, member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA) and the leading energy storage Basque research center specialized in batteries, thermal energy solutions and hydrogen technologies, has described the outcome of the 5th "Power Our Future" Congress, held in Vitoria-Gasteiz last week with the participation of the sector´s leading experts, as highly satisfactory. The organization has particularly highlighted the capability and proficiency level of the industry to start production of solid-state batteries, and the presentation of new breakthroughs in alternative metal-ion technologies to lithium, such as sodium or potassium.

"One of the main features of this congress has been the excellent quality of all the contributions, which have spanned all the most topical issues in the field of batteries: advanced materials for different technologies, sustainability, safety and manufacturability", said Montse Casas-Cabanas, Vice-President of "Power Our Future" and Scientific Coordinator of the Electrochemical Storage Area at CIC energiGUNE.

In this respect, Dr. Casas pointed out that the congress addressed not only the current challenges facing Li-ion technology but also those related to the new generations of batteries, especially solid-state batteries and Na-ion, K-ion and flow batteries, as well as supercapacitors. To this end, the congress featured 17 keynote papers, 31 oral presentations and 35 posters, with participants from 10 different countries.

"It has been an inclusive, gender-balanced congress, which has encouraged the participation of researchers at all stages of their careers and given opportunities to young researchers," explained Dr. Casas, who also highlighted the presence of Michel Armand, President of the Congress and renowned CIC energiGUNE scientist, who has been the inspiration for many of the research projects presented.

Commitment to industry

In this fifth edition of "Power Our Future", and also to meet the growing interest of the scientific community in promoting the practical application of their research, the activities linked to industry have taken on a more prominent role, including the presentation of specific projects and highly advanced development proposals. On Friday, 8 July, a session was held focusing exclusively on bringing together industry and research, with details of what is envisaged in the immediate future.

Stand-out new developments included the announcement made by Margaud Lécuyer, from the company Blue Solutions, on the 4th generation of solid-state batteries, which, in her opinion, will be a reality in just a few years´ time. Likewise, BCARE, through its CEO Javier Olarte, presented a very low-cost intelligent battery sensor based on an advanced end-of-life prediction model for batteries that can be customized for each application.

Francisco Carranza, CEO of BASQUEVOLT, a spin-off of CIC energiGUNE like BCARE, presented their development project. In his opinion, one of the most important challenges facing the next generation of solid-state batteries lies in cost reduction, an issue on which the Basque research center has been working for years.

"The participation of industry in "Power Our Future" is simply a natural process of what we intend to achieve at CIC energiGUNE", said Nuria Gisbert, General Manager of the research center. "Its presence opens the doors to a more efficient and effective activity, in which research can find direct transfer channels", added Gisbert, who stressed the importance of having brought together in Vitoria-Gasteiz some of the most important representatives of the scientific community, including Stefano Passerini, Director and Professor at the Helmholtz Ulm Institute in Germany; Patrice Simon, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science at the Université Paul Sabatier / Paul Sabatier University and considered the leading international reference in research into supercapacitors; Shinichi Komaba, Professor at the Department of Applied Chemistry at the Tokyo University of Science (Japan), and renowned for his expertise in sodium batteries; Kristina Edström, Coordinator of the European Large-Scale Research Programme Battery 2030Plus; and Margret Wohlfahrt-Mehrens, Head of the Electrochemical Materials Research Department at ZSW (Germany).

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