Creating the next generation of batteries with thin-film electronics

Sustainable, cost-effective, safe, fast-charging batteries with higher energy density are essential for our energy transition to succeed. At Holst Centre we explore innovative new battery manufacturing techniques, materials and architectures, using our extensive expertise in various ingenious thin-film processes.

Sustainable electrification of our society is a key element to reach global climate objectives. At the same time, this fast-paced, ambitious transition does not come without challenges. New legislation is forcing industries to rapidly decarbonize their products and services. Car buyers, for instance, won’t accept compromises from their new battery-powered vehicle in terms of convenience, reliability or safety. The switch to renewable energy sources forces us to come up with storing and transporting solutions like smart grids to match supply and demand. At the same time, Europe’s energy transition could be hindered by our dependency on foreign regimes that control most of the critical raw materials needed for battery manufacturing.

Solid-state batteries

Innovative battery technology can enable a smooth transition with healthy economic perspectives. At Holst Centre, we are working on revolutionary battery concepts that enable stable solid-state batteries. Compared to the current 'liquid' lithium batteries, these ' Solid-State Thin-Film enabled' batteries are lighter and safer. Our thin-film expertise allows us to experiment with several artificial interfacial layers, which allow for functional interface stability. Promising results have been achieved using materials such as LiPON.

Thin-film electronics

This next generation of solid-state batteries benefits from our longstanding heritage in thin-film electronics, that we have used previously to create flexible displays, OLED and thin-film photovoltaic innovations. With our advanced thin-film processes we are able to deposit ultra-thin layers of functional material even on 3D microstructures, which drastically reduces the required amount of critical raw materials. With this technology we can help our partners to create next generation solid-state batteries with unique properties. These batteries operate safely at elevated temperatures, without risks of ignition or explosion.

Furthermore, these advanced thin-film techniques can be used with novel high-capacity materials with an energy density of over 450 Wh/kg, allowing for batteries with significantly higher capacities.

Circular design, scalable production

At Holst Centre we want to reduce the footprint of batteries, by addressing sustainability in all lifecyle phases. From their eco-design, through efficient material-use in production, and the successful recycling and re-use of scarce materials. We research novel battery architecture, heavy-metal-free materials and circular processes for solid-state batteries. Combined with our experience and facilities to scale-up production, we can mass-produce the next generation of batteries with unique properties, using roll-to-roll manufacturing processes that merge perfectly with Giga-scale fabs.

Spin-off LionVolt

By further improving the efficiency of our thin-film techniques, enhancing our expertise in solid state battery interface integration, and exploring new materials, we will continue to improve our battery technology and help our partners bring their developments to the next phase. To further develop and commercialise 3D solid-state batteries, we have successfully launched the spin-off company LionVolt in 2018. With a total investment of 4.5 millions euros the Dutch government acknowledges the importance to retain this technology for The Netherlands.

Interface engineering
Join our co-development research programme

With our knowhow and technology, Holst Centre wants to help partners building a strong position in the global battery market by developing a unique value proposition. Whether it is interface engineering, components passivation, testing, scaling up manufacturing, or cathode development, our partners benefit from our extensive and flexible R&D facilities, enabling a seamless transition from lab-to-fab. Together we can create next generations of batteries that will contribute to the global energy transition and a fully sustainable society.