“Battery cells are a key technology for the energy transition” – that is how Ralph Diermann commences his recent article “The race for the battery of the future” published on Spiegel Online. However, at least two severe problems need to be pointed out in this context. On the one hand – and this applies above all to the German or non-Asian, respectively, perspective -, it turns out to be extremely problematic that battery cells are currently still predominantly produced in Asia. Consequently, any added value or existing delivery dependencies in this context are anchored in that region. On the other hand, the automotive industry, a particularly important industrial branch on the way to the energy transition, has so far been focusing almost exclusively on lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolytes, although it is foreseeable that the potential of this type of battery is already almost completely exploited in terms of achievable energy density.
Various promising candidates have emerged in the race for the “battery of the future”, which is currently taking place with particularly intensive efforts and investments. To avoid bottlenecks regarding the availability of the important commodity lithium, the suitability of alternative materials, such as sodium, magnesium-sulfur, and aluminum, are researched, with their maturity likely to be in a rather distant future, though. That is why the all-solid-state battery is currently considered the “hottest candidate” in the near future. Arndt Remhof, who is with the Swiss research institute Empa, is quoted as follows: “Solid-state batteries promise a 50 percent higher energy density at the cell level than lithium-ion batteries.” Moreover, he states that “solid-state batteries play an important role in the roadmaps of many car manufacturers” and that “Volkswagen, for example, says it wants to produce such batteries in Salzgitter from the middle of the next decade.”
AdCo EngineeringGW acts at the forefront of this research and development, particularly regarding the aforementioned “hottest candidate”, the all-solid-state battery, providing its customers with advanced simulation technology that is key to a better understanding of this new type of battery. The benefits for our customers are more powerful and safer batteries with shorter development times. In this context, we are currently collaborating very closely with BMW AG.