European consortium kicks-off to increase circularity of Li-ion battery anodes

Broek op Langedijk, Netherlands – 19 January 2022

The next generation Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles requires better performing materials to enable increased energy densities and allow for fast charging rates. These materials must be made available on large scale to meet the requirements of the rapidly scaling battery manufacturers. Electric vehicle battery mass production must be established in a way that sustainability and cost criteria are met. The ESiLib consortium, formed by six leading parties in the industry, will be working towards this goal. The collaborative research and innovation project ESiLib with a budget of 3.3 million euro, co-funded by EIT RawMaterials, was kicked-off yesterday.

It’s expected that in 2030 about 70% of new vehicles will be electric. This will require around 1 TWh of batteries in the EU per year. Last year, CEOs of European battery manufacturers have been presenting ambitious production plans for scaling up. At the same time, this growth needs to happen in a way that sustainability and cost criteria are met.

Importance of silicon and closed materials loops

To keep up with the market growth, there is high demand for new battery cell chemistries that can meet technical, cost and critical supply chain requirements. Silicon is more and more recognized as the main anode component of high performance batteries. To increase the cost effectiveness and the sustainability of silicon, achieving closed materials loops is important.

Consortium of leading European materials parties

Six leading advanced battery materials partners form the consortium of the collaborative research and innovation project ESiLib (Upscaling E-magy nanoporous Si-material for next generation Li-ion Battery anodes) to improve the sustainability of Li-ion battery anodes ESiLib will work towards developing a more sustainable way of producing silicon for next generation batteries by re-using waste streams. The project connects players across the entire battery value chain: material, chemistry/component, equipment manufacturing and scientific partners.

Each company involved is a leader in its sector of activity and ideally placed on this value chain:

  • Ferroglobe: One of the world’s largest producer of silicon. Their role in the project is to supply silicon, recycle SiO2, Si powder and up-scaling know how and support.
  • DCX Chrome: Leading producer of aluminothermic chrome metal. They will take care of the supply of chromium and the recycling of chromium salts in the process.
  • SUSTEC: Global solutions supplier for sustainable etching technology. Their role is to develop, and test etchant recycling processes and build equipment.
  • CEA: French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a key player in research, development and innovation of advanced materials. Their role in the project is battery manufacturing, testing and qualification but also feedback on performance.
  • University of Darmstadt: Technical University in Germany, specialised in battery research. They will take care of testing the silicon performance in the battery, lab scale testing, analysis and characterisation of battery materials.
  • E-magy: Developer and producer of nano-porous silicon material for batteries that overcomes the technical challenges related to the silicon volume expansion and resulting in 40% more energy density batteries. E-magy is the coordinator of the ESiLib consortium.

ESiLib Project kick-off

On the 18th of January 2022, the participants came together to kick off the two year project. ESiLib aims to develop an improved nano-porous silicon manufacturing process that meets the performance, cost and sustainability criteria that battery customers require. As a result, the nano-porous silicon material manufacturing costs will be reduced and process sustainability increased.

“We are thrilled to have kicked-off this project with a strong consortium in the EIT RawMaterials program. Together with the project partners we cover the supply chain for advanced silicon material for next generation batteries. This enables us to work on aspects such as material costs, manufacturing process sustainability and up-scaling. ”
Axel Schönecker, CTO E-magy and coordinator of ESiLib

ESiLib co-funded by EIT RawMaterials

The project will receive 2.35 million euro cofunding from EIT RawMaterials as it contributes to their 3 strategic objectives: 1) Securing raw materials supply 2) Designing materials solutions and 3) Closing materials loops.

EIT RawMaterials, initiated and co-funded by the European Union, is the leading institute to drive and foster innovation along the entire raw materials value chain in Europe. By enabling sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector, EIT RawMaterials aims to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe.

”We are excited to support this project because closing materials loops for Li-ion battery anodes is of strategic importance for Europe. The ESiLib consortium brings together leading advanced battery materials partners to increase circularity in the electric vehicle battery sector.
Michel Vanavermaete, Director Innovation Hub Central & West of EIT RawMaterials