Dr. Jean-Francois Drillet is head of "energy storage & conversion" team at DECHEMA research institute (DFI) in Frankfurt a. M., Germany.
His team currently develops and tests materials for some advanced battery, fuel cell and electrolysis applications. One center of interest focuses on emerging battery technologies such as Aluminum-ion and Zinc-ion that rely on abundant, non-critical and easy to recycle raw materials. The R&D activities include powder synthesis, electrode coating and finally cylindrical/ prismatic cell assembly and testing on the lab scale.
From your point of view which are current the needs in material developments on batteries?
To meet net-zero CO2 emission target by 2050, huge production in energy storage systems (ESS), more especially for transportation and peak-shaving of solar energy plants are urgently needed. In that context, Li-based batteries obviously play a preponderant role besides Lead-acid technology. Current needs in material development for Li-ion batteries (LIB) are multiples depending on application specifications with respect to e.g., C-rate, longevity, security, environment as well as costs. A lot of efforts are still necessary to reduce concentration of critical raw materials in electrode such as Cobalt and develop a viable process for Lithium recycling.
Which is the main technological impediment/ risk in battery development?
Safety aspects and material supply chain should be carefully evaluated. More generally, diversification of ESS relying on safe, abundant, and easy-to-recycle materials should help to limit some risks and impediments related to "battery monoculture".
Do you know CoFBAT project? Once you have become familiar what is your opinion on the project?
No, I didn´t before. Development of Cobalt-free electrodes is for sure a very exciting, challenging topic that is of great interest for battery manufacturers and should increase sustainability image of LIB.