Michel Adamič je študent fizike na 2. stopnji Fakultete za matematiko in fiziko v Ljubljani, kjer končuje magistrsko nalogo. Na FPGA čipu izdeluje zelo natančen merilnik časa (TDC) z aplikacijami v medicinski in jedrski fiziki. Ob tem so njegova velika ljubezen tudi baterije oziroma elektrokemija, kot študent pa že več kot 6 let sodeluje pri raziskavah baterij na Kemijskem inštitutu v skupini pod vodstvom prof. dr. Roberta Dominka. Prav tako Michel svoje široko znanje s pridom uporablja za vzdrževanje predelanega električnega avtomobila, ki se na Inštitutu uporablja kot službeno vozilo.
V zadnjem času doživljamo kar velik napredek na področju baterij. Do kam se litiji ionska baterije še lahko razvijejo?
Ločiti je treba med napredkom baterijskih celic in napredkom baterijskih sklopov. V zadnjih letih so ogromno napredovali sklopi, ne pa toliko same celice. Nekaj let nazaj se je pojavil NMC katodni material, ki je trenutni »state-of-the-art«. To je zadnji prispevek kemije k zmogljivosti baterij. V zadnjem času se je bolj izboljševala tehnologija, sinteza materialov, sestava celic in podobno. Na ta račun so celice postale boljše. Največji napredek, ki se vidi pri električnih avtomobilih, je pa predvsem inženiring baterijskih sklopov. Zaradi boljšega inženiringa uspejo v isti prostor stlačiti večje število celic. Pri Renaultu nova 52 kWh baterija zasede enako prostora kot prva 22 kWh. Seveda se energijska gostota v celicah medtem ni kaj dosti povečala. Drugi razlog pa je padanje cen baterij, tako da so tudi stroški izdelave avtomobila nižji in tovarne si tako lahko privoščijo večje število celic. Torej je za napredek električnih avtomobilov zaslužen predvsem baterijski inženiring in drastično padanje cen. Na znanosti Li-iona se razen novega, bolj trpežnega in varnega NMC-ja ni naredilo kaj pretresljivega.
Torej se litij ionske baterije počasi bližajo svoji maksimalni izkoriščenosti. Kaj pa drugi materiali, ki bi lahko ponudili več energetske gostote ali pa nižje stroške izdelave pri enaki gostoti?
Kot alternativa Li-ionu strokovnjaki po celem svetu raziskujejo morje različnih materialov. Vsaka skupina raziskuje nekaj drugega, vendar za zdaj brez resnih rezultatov. Tako da meni osebno se sanja ne, kaj bo nekoč v uporabi. Dejstvo je, da je Li-ion že na meji zmogljivosti, in raziskovalci iščejo čisto nove pristope, tako na strani anode (druge kovine poleg litija; natrij, magnezij, aluminij …) kot katode. Znebiti se hočemo odvisnosti od kobalta in niklja, tako da NMC bo prej kot slej vzel slovo. Naš laboratorij na Kemijskem inštitutu je recimo precej aktiven na litij-žveplo (Li-S) sistemu. Obljublja višjo kapaciteto in poceni katode iz lahko dostopnega žvepla. Problem je, ker stvar še vedno slabo deluje in ker še vedno ne razumemo, kaj se zares dogaja v celici. Čez N ciklov, kjer je N poljubno naravno število, se stvar spremeni v totalno packarijo. Ob tem je problem tudi varnost. Smo imeli neke poskusne celice, ki so se vžgale in eksplodirale pri 60°C, kar nikakor ne sodi na ceste. S tem ko gremo nazaj na kovinski litij, se seveda spet pojavi stari problem dendritov. V raziskovalni dejavnosti je zelo težko napovedati, kdaj bo neka stvar pripravljena. Mogoče ne bo nikoli in medtem odkrijemo nekaj čisto novega. Jaz mislim da se bomo še kar nekaj časa vozili na Li-ion. Verjetno ne bom nič hudo zgrešil, če rečem desetletje. Nedvomno pa se bo vmes tehnologija počasi izboljševala. Mogoče nam končno uspe narediti “solid state” baterije, se pravi s trdnim elektrolitom. Ampak v osnovi bo to še vedno Li-ion, samo z izboljšano kapaciteto in varnostjo.
Michel Adamič is a Master Physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana, where he is currently finishing his Master’s thesis. He is implementing a high-resolution time-to-digital converter (TDC) on an FPGA chip, with applications spanning from medical to high energy physics. Besides electronics, his passion is electrochemistry and he has worked as a student researcher in the Battery group of prof. dr. Robert Dominko at the National Institute of Chemistry for the past 6 years. In addition, Michel uses his broad knowledge for maintenance of a converted electric car, which serves as a company car at the Institute.
There have been significant advances in the field of batteries recently. How much potential is there left in lithium-ion technology?
One has to differ between advancements of battery cells and advancements of battery packs. In the recent years battery packs have been pushed forward significantly, which is not really true for cells. A few years back the NMC cathode material appeared, which is considered as today’s state-of-the-art. That’s more or less the only larger contribution chemistry has made. We have seen major improvements in technology itself, i.e. in materials synthesis, cell assembly etc. That’s the main reason why the cells got better. However, the biggest leap for electric vehicles has been achieved in battery pack engineering. Because of that, more cells can be stacked in the same volume. For example, Renault’s new 52 kWh battery pack takes approximately the same space as the old 22 kWh pack. Of course, the energy density of the cells themselves hasn’t increased drastically in the meantime. The second reason is the decreasing cost of Li-ion cells, which means that car manufacturers can afford to put more cells inside the pack. To conclude, increased EV range is mainly due to better battery engineering and falling prices of battery cells. Regarding the science of Li-ion itself, nothing dramatic happened apart from the new, more durable and safer NMC cathodes.
Therefore, Li-ion technology is slowly reaching its limits. What about other materials which could offer larger energy densities or lower cost at the same density?
A lot of effort has been put throughout the world into the search for better and more sustainable materials as an alternative to Li-ion. Every group seems to be working on a different promising material, but so far, nothing stands out as a commercially viable solution yet. I personally have no clue what we will use in the future. The fact is that Li-ion has been pushed to its limits and researchers are looking at completely new approaches, both at the anode (other metals besides lithium, such as sodium, magnesium, aluminium …) and cathode side. We want to reduce our dependency on rare metals like cobalt and nickel, so NMC will sooner or later have to be replaced by something else. For example, our lab at the National Institute of Chemistry is quite active in the research of the lithium-sulphur (Li-S) system. It promises higher energy density and cheap cathodes from highly abundant sulphur. However, problems remain and we still don’t really understand what’s happening inside the cells. After an arbitrary number of cycles the stuff changes into a total mess. Safety is another concern. We’ve had some experimental cells that ignited and exploded at 60°C, which is a big “no go” for commercial use. As we go back to metallic lithium, the old problem of dendrites reappears. In science, it’s very difficult to predict when a certain system will be mature enough to hit the road. Maybe it never will be and we discover something completely different in the meantime. I think Li-ion is here to stay, I would say for at least another decade. Nevertheless, the technology will continue to improve. Perhaps we finally manage to make useful solid state batteries, i.e. with a proper solid electrolyte. In its essence, this will still be Li-ion, but with both improved energy density and safety.
Harald BÖCK was born in Lower Austria in 1958. He received the Dipl. Ing. (FH) degree in electrical engineering from the University of Applied Sience in 2002.
After working more than 35 years in the telecommunication industry as a hardware and software design engineer he joined the Municipal Department 33 Public Lighting in 2011.
2017 he resumed their executive functions in the electromobility team. He is responsible for all electromobility activities in Vienna, especially for the rollout of public charging infrastructure. Hi is a member of the electromobility working group at FSV.
Vienna is the best place to live in the world. What is the role of well-organized public transport, cycling areas and e-mobility in this respect?
Internationality, safety, affordable and high-quality living standards have contributed to this title in consecutive years.
Most remarkable is the cheap, frequent and fast public transport. Viennese pay 365 EUR for a yearly transport ticket, which allows access to all buses, trams and metros.
Most of the city is accessible within 30 minutes and metros are running 24 hours on the weekends.
Vienna has developed a well thought traffic concept: evoid (individual motorized traffic), improve (efficiency) and shift (from individual to public transport).
The concept is based on the smart city framework, our Urban development Plan STEP2025, the eMobility Strategy and finally the eCarsharing Strategy.
What are the biggest challenges for Vienna over the next few years in e-mobility?
Nevertheless, combatting climate change is not finished there, since traffic is still one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions in Austria.
In order to work towards the further decarbonization of transport the city of Vienna is looking into unlocking more mobility services for its citizens.
The the biggest challenges are striking against E-Mobility preconceptions, like: far too high initial cost, reach (especially with air condition on), no public/private charging infrastructure, …
One can attack this prejudices by renting electric cars. Vienna has plans to tender an E-Crasharing fleet.
Biography Christina Bu (NO), NORWEGIAN EV ASSOCIATION
Christina Bu, born 1980, is head of “Norsk elbilforening” (the Norwegian EV Association), a role she has had for five years. Earlier she worked as a political adviser within mobility and environmental issues. Christina has a BA in political science from the University of Oslo and Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and a MA in Society, Science and Technology Studies from the University of Oslo and Maastricht University. As an expert on electric mobility Christina is frequently meeting with OEMs and advising politicians and governmental bodies from different countries. She has been a Keynote speaker at conferences across the globe. With an EV market share close to 50 % Norway is leading the way.
The Norwegian EV Association is an NGO and consumer organization that has been fast growing and now has 30 employees and over 75.000 members – EV owners from all over the country. This makes it the worlds’ largest EV owner organization. The organization plays an important role both nationally and internationally when it comes to promoting the shift to electric mobility, and work in collaboration with governmental bodies, industry and other organizations.
Baerte de Brey is the Chief International Officer within ElaadNL. ElaadNL is the knowledge and innovation centre in the field of (smart) charging infrastructure and is owned by the Dutch TSO and DSOs.
Responsible for analyzing the long-term effect of electric mobility on the electricity grids, Baerte helps building a sustainable business case around this transition. This includes vehicle2grids, EV-storage and research on cyber security. He graduated from Leiden University in 2001 with a law degree and received a MBA from Nyenrode Business University in 2006.
As an expert for the International Energy Agency and the European Commission he sometimes reviews collective European programs concerning EV interoperability and smart charging. He is regularly consulted by decision makers in the automotive industry and governments, most recently by California and British Columbia. In his spare time he is an elected member of the Provincial Council of Utrecht.
How EV affect the grid in Nederland?
Electric mobility affects the grids in a very positive way. Since all charging infrastructure does “smart charging” (obligatory to participate in public tenders for charging infrastructure), we can relieve the grid by charging at times the load is low. Or, for the convenience for our customers, when prices are down. And even better: when there is a maximum of sustainable energy. At peak hours, we can discharge some cars -vehicle-2-grid- so the EV has become a battery, a buffer for the grid.
Any other positive affect for the country?
Labor! The market is taking up and we have to install all the chargers by specialized electrical engineers. Furthermore, the protocol as for smart chargers have to mature: add cybersecurity in them for example. Lastly, we have to embed the new techniques in (European) regulation!
Maarten has a background in theoretical AI, with a broad focus ranging from nature inspired problem solving methods to formal logic and automated reasoning. At BrainCreators Maarten is responsible for keeping the development team up to date with the latest scientific research in machine learning and providing technical support to the sales team. In addition, Maarten is a supervisor to Bachelor and Master internship projects at BrainCreators and a keynote speaker and evangelist for AI in Practice.
Sveinung André Kvalø is one of Norway’s leading experts on electric mobility policies. In the City of Oslo he has the responsibility for e–mobility, car sharing and residential parking in the Department of Transportation at the City Hall. He has been a member of the Norwegian climate negotiations team under the UNFCCC, as lead negotiator on future carbon markets. He has also worked with national climate policies, with a special responsibility for electric mobility policies and new transport technologies.
Matthieu Campion is currently General Manager EV Business at Mitsubishi Motors Europe. Matthieu has built a rich international experience through various marketing positions he held in the past 15 years at Renault, TomTom Automotive and now Mitsubishi Motors Europe in France, the USA and The Netherlands. His skills include strategic marketing, corporate communication, marketing project management, marketing research, brand management and e-commerce, in B2B and B2C settings. Matthieu holds a Masters degree in Management Science from Neoma Business School in France and recently graduated from Rotterdam School of Management with an Executive MBA degree.