In order to achieve the climate neutrality targeted by the EU by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic, among other things, must be drastically reduced. The consistent expansion of electric mobility is expected to make a major contribution to this. However, this requires cheaper and more sustainable alternatives to existing batteries. “This is precisely what is a huge challenge, because the development of new batteries takes quite a long time with current methods. In the BIG-MAP project, we want to take this decisively forward,” says Professor Maximilian Fichtner, scientific spokesman of CELEST and POLiS and deputy director at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), which the KIT founded together with the University of Ulm. The EU project BIG-MAP (Battery Interface Genome / Materials Acceleration Platform) aims to establish completely new methods and thus considerably accelerate battery development – among other things through consistent automation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In future, sustainable and ultra-high performance batteries are to be developed up to ten times faster than before using the methods established in BIG-MAP. The researchers also want to ensure that these batteries can store energy efficiently and that they can be produced sustainably and at low cost. This should make it not only technically possible but also economically attractive in future to store electricity from the sun and wind in batteries. “A realignment of existing discovery, development and manufacturing processes for battery materials and technologies is necessary to enable Europe to compete with its main rivals in the USA and Asia,” says Fichtner.
The budget for BIG-MAP amounts to 16 million euros, with 34 institutions from 15 countries participating. The project will initially run for three years, with the option of an extension for another seven years. It is the largest single research project of the European Battery Research Initiative, BATTERY 2030+.
BIG-MAP is intended to create a common European data infrastructure that will enable data from all areas of the battery development cycle to be automatically collected, processed and used in cooperative workflows. This will enable them to work together across national borders and time zones. AI-orchestrated experiments and synthesis will use large amounts of captured data with a focus on battery materials, interfaces and intermediate phases. Data will be generated from computer simulations, autonomous high-throughput material synthesis and characterization, in operando experiments and device-level tests. Novel AI-based tools and models will use the data to “learn” the interaction between battery materials and interfaces, thus laying the foundation for the improvement of future battery materials, interfaces and cells.
The BATTERY 2030+ consortium includes the University of Uppsala (Sweden) as coordinator, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Ulm as well as the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, the Technical University of Denmark, the Free University of Amsterdam and the University of Münster. There are also research centres in France, Germany, Slovenia, Spain and Norway, as well as a number of commercial entrepreneurs from EU countries.
More information about BIG-MAP: https://www.big-map.eu/
More information about Battery 2030+: https://www.battery2030.eu
More information about Celest: https://www.celest.de