Research Activity - NTNU Energy Team Battery - NTNU Energy
Research from NTNU Energy Team Battery
Research from NTNU Energy Team Battery
As the battery industry is currently dominated by Li-ion technology, most of the research projects in Team Battery at NTNU are related to this.
The demand for optimisation within this space has grown drastically with the advance of electric vehicles (EVs) particularly, but also for general energy storage applications. Different requirements for these batteries offer several challenges in improving capacity, efficiency, and longevity of the technology. Finding alternative fabrication pathways by using sustainable and non-toxic materials are becoming a great concern as the global production volume is expected to increase substantially over the coming years.
Three main research areas have evolved within the team to address some of the current challenges facing the technological world of batteries.
Research from Team Battery
Batteries can be produced with different materials and compositions, making them act like a “black box” of electrochemical reactions to achieve electrical output. Thus, specialising in how to efficiently characterise battery materials forms fundamental groundwork for understanding conventional batteries and developing future technologies.
Investigation of battery materials and components is important to understand the limitations of current state-of-the-art technologies. One cathode composition typically requires a different anode composition, and changing battery environments offer challenges related to the efficiency and stability of the overall system. For example, a project may be related to changing the composition or structure of an electrode, where developing alternative electrode compositions may alleviate controversy attached to some material mining practices with the benefit of increasing the battery performance. However, as mentioned, this typically poses challenges in how the change affects the rest of the battery.
Understanding these interactions is important for developing future battery designs, and several exciting projects are offered within this space at NTNU.
Performance analyses of different batteries require different cycling tests to evaluate their capacity, rate performance and internal resistances, to name a few. When one part of the system is changed, like the cathode or anode composition or structure, these tests are performed to compare them with conventional systems to evaluate their potential in a next-generation battery. These tests are often combined with material characterisations post cycling to give a complete image of the battery’s functionality, and the reactions that may have occurred between its components.
Research on conventional Li-based batteries, their compositions and optimisation potential, is still the space where most research is happening at NTNU. However, next-generation technology is creating research projects within alternative configurations like Na-ion batteries, which are expected to go ahead within the next year.
The expected need for batteries in the global EV fleet and energy storage systems requires large volumes of raw materials to accommodate this. For example, the amount of Li needed for a global implementation of EVs is expected to exceed the readily available amount on Earth. Furthermore, controversial mining practices for some conventional battery components means ethical challenges are posed in how we obtain these raw materials and where from.
By developing efficient recycling methods, we hope to mitigate some of the challenges related to material supply presently and in the future. As batteries consist of several components that interact differently with each other, intricate pathways are being developed in how we recycle them. As past battery systems do not necessarily come with content specifications, there is a need to develop identification methods in addition to efficient recycling pathways for the materials that reside within older generation battery technology. As this research field is lagging behind the advancement of global battery implementation, significant efforts are now being made to improve the sustainability of commercial battery technology.
NTNU has had a continuous collaboration with large entities across Europe to push for the development of battery recycling methods, and exciting international projects are offered in this field.
Research projects and groups
Horizon Europe FELXSHIP
The overall goal of FLEXSHIP is to develop and validate safe and reliable, flexible, modular, and scalable solutions for electrification of the waterborne sector. Read more about FLEXSHIP.
HolE-LIB – Developing a Holistic Ecosystem for Sustainable Repurposing and/or Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) in Norway and the EU
The current project will develop a holistic understanding of the fate of end-of-life batteries by addressing technical, economic, and design perspectives along the battery value chain, complemented by evaluation of sustainable business model scenarios within reuse, repurposing and recycling. Read more about the HolE-LIB project.
ALBATROSS addresses the needs of European Electric and Hybrid-Electric passenger vehicle market by overcoming driver concerns relating to battery range and anxiety, cost, long-term reliability and excessive charging times. Read more about ALBATROSS.
In the period 2018 - 2022, the research project BattMarine will work for reliable, safe and economically viable use of batteries in the maratime sector. Read more about the research project on RISE Fire Research webpages (in Norwegian).
Research partners: Institutt for energiteknikk (IFE), RISE Fire Research in Trondheim, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) og Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Sustainable Energy Systems Research Group
The sustainable energy systems group works with integration of energy systems. Their aim is to increase sustainability and the group focus on, among other things, battery technology.
Ongoing research projects
My PhD project focuses on developing high-energy cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Ni-rich layered oxides can provide high energy densities due to their high capacities, but struggle with performance- and thermal stability issues. The aim of the project is to synthesise Ni-rich layered oxides with modifications for improved stability.
Project period: September 2018 - April 2023
Contact: Harald Norrud Pollen
My PhD project is part of the MoZEES research center, a Norwegian Research Center on Zero Emission Energy Systems with focus on battery- and hydrogen technology for transport applications.
I focus mainly on the application of high-voltage cathode materials in Li-ion batteries, and specifically on the stabilization of the cathode/electrolyte interface at high voltages.
Project period: August 2017 - November 2021
Contact: Elise Ramleth Østli
My work is related to investigating if a two-dimensional material called MXenes can work as a cathode material in rechargeable Mg batteries. I therefore work with different synthesis methods and post synthesis treatments, in order to control the intercalating properties of this material. So far I have been working on the two different MXene compositions of V2CTx and Ti3C2Tx.
Project period: September 2018 - October 2022
Contact: Frode Håskjold Fagerli
Magnesium-sulfur batteries can enable cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly batteries for e-mobility and grid applications. One remaining critical challenge is to design proper cathode architectures that prevents performance degradation. We are developing several different cathode composites, accompanied by thorough material and electrochemical characterization to understand how to further improve them.
Contact: Henning Kaland
I am a computational chemist using DFT to assess cathode materials for magnesium batteries. My main objective is to understand how to best achieve cathodes with both low migration barriers (i.e. fast charging/discharge) and high operating voltage. The MXene group of materials is of special interest.
Project period: September 2017 - September 2021
Contact: Jacob Hadler-Jacobsen
I study the electrode electrolyte interphases in Li batteries by using both experimental techniques mainly XPS and molecular modelling including DFT and MD simulations.
Project period: May 2020 - May 2022
Contact: Mahsa Ebadi
I am working with lithium metal anodes for high energy density batteries. Using atomistic computer simulations, we are investigating the mechanisms of dendrite nucleation and growth on the lithium metal surface.
Contact: Ingeborg Treu Røe
My goal is to improve the reversibility of Li plating and stripping in nonaqueous electrolytes. I am trying to understand why the addition of lithium nitrate in TEGDME solvents with LiTFSI/LiFSI salt improves the cyclability. To investigate this, I study the formation of the initial SEI layer and nucleation of Li on Cu current collectors by voltammetry, SEM and XPS/FTIR.
Contact: Heidi Thuv
I work on Li-ion batteries with silicon as anode material. I am researching an alternative electrolyte salt for these batteries. If this salt can replace todays commercially used salt, the safety of the batteries would be improved.
Project period: August 2016 - May 2021
Contact: Karina Asheim
My work as a postdoctoral researcher is focused on experimental studies of various electrode materials and electrolyte systems for Li-ion batteries. Some examples include the Li-uptake properties of biomineralized silica, tailored binder functionalities for silicon-based anodes as well as inhibition of aluminium corrosion in high-voltage cathode materials via tuning of electrolyte additives.
Contact: John Viktor Emanuel Renman
I work in the study of synthetic and naturally occurring silica as anode material for next generation Li-ion batteries. My work mainly focuses in the structural and electrochemical analysis of silica anodes using advanced characterization techniques. I also work in the development of carbon coating procedures to enhance the electrochemical performance of the anodes.
Contact: Maria Valeria Blanco
My research centers around the use of micron-sized silicon particles as an anode material for Li-ion batteries. I work with a special class of solvents called ionic liquids and mix novel electrolytes to try and mitigate the problem of unstable solid electrolyte interface (SEI) film formation on the silicon. I use both electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques to characterize the electrolytes and the SEI to better understand the performance of my batteries.
My PhD is a part of the Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research called Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems (MoZEES), where the goal is to develop better batteries for transport applications.
Project period: September 2017 - December 2020
Contact: Daniel Tevik Rogstad
Our role is to both determine the fundamental mechanisms that underlie ionic migration, as well as aid the discovery and prediction of new materials for battery applications. This is all possible by using state-of-the-art density functional theory (DFT) calculations and methods to characterise the very intrinsic properties of such materials.
Currently our work is focussed towards the realisation of an all solid-state battery device through the discovery of suitable solid electrolytes.
Contact: Benjamin Williamson
My project involves the study and development of solid state electrolytes for lithium ion batteries. Polymers, ceramics and composites of these will be studied.
Currently, I am using molecular dynamics methods to simulate candidate electrolytes to try to find out which material properties are beneficial for high ionic conductivity. The most promising materials will be synthesized and tested in lab scale batteries.
Project period: May 2020 - April 2024
Contact: Øystein Gullbrekken