Dr. Jordi Jacas obtained his PhD in Materials at Sheffield University, working on the electrical and electrochemical characterization of electrode materials for Li-ion batteries. During his postdoc at ISIS neutron spallation source and Stockholm University, he developed new tools to characterise batteries in-situ using neutron diffraction.
Jordi is currently a senior researcher for the battery section at the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research. His research aims to develop new electrode materials for next-generation batteries, including Li-S and generation 3b batteries. Since 2020, he has been the coordinator of the COBRA project (H2020-875568) devoted to the fabrication of next-generation Co-Free Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
The Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) is a publicly funded institution of approximately 120 people created in 2008 and based in Barcelona and Tarragona that conducts research and promotes innovation in a wide range of energy-related science and technology fields. IREC contributes to sustainability via the development of new technological solutions, promotion of scientific and technological know-how related to sustainable energy and its efficient use, and the transfer of solutions and expertise to market actors
From your point of view, which are current the needs in material developments on batteries?
Energy storage demands of the near future require four significant needs in material development, including performance, price, safety, and environmental aspects.
The first is the fabrication of battery materials to deliver high capacity, high output voltage, and prolonged cycling. In this regard, the battery community is very active, looking for new materials and optimized recipes. The materials of choice for next-generation battery systems appear to be silicon for the anode, a polymer-based electrolyte, and Ni-rich or Mn-rich cathode materials containing no cobalt. Solid electrolytes are promising for enhancing safety and achieving gravimetric energy densities beyond 350 Whkg-1. Cheap or recycled materials are essential for battery development and implementation. Unfortunately, we have seen enormous fluctuations in nickel prices lately, harming material development strategies.
Which is the main technological impediment/ risk in battery development?
Aside from more sustainable and highly performant cathode materials, the fabrication of green and compacted electrodes is a significant milestone for cell manufacturers. Interfaces play an essential role in a battery cell and determine cycling stability and C-rate capability. In this regard, fabricating Li metal anodes with a stable and low resistance solid interface with the electrolyte would represent a significant breakthrough in maximizing energy density.
Do you know the CoFBAT project? Once you have become familiar what is your opinion on the project?
Yes indeed. I have followed the CoFBAT project right from the beginning since, as the coordinator of the COBRA project, which is devoted to the fabrication of next-generation Co-free batteries for automotive applications, we both develop sustainable battery technology and share many project objectives.
I think the project is well on track and fulfilling project milestones such as delivering high-performant battery materials containing no cobalt. I am looking forward to CoFBAT next steps in cell manufacturing and upscaling.