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cidetec

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OUR KEY FACILITIES

BATTERY R&D LABORATORIES


Battery Materials R&D Laboratories

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We have several chemistry, electrochemistry and materials oriented laboratories furnished with all necessary equipment and tooling. Here is where our research starts. In these laboratories we select and combine the most suitable materials to develop highly performing electrodes, as the basis for the development of highly performing early stage battery prototypes. We prepare our first electrode samples with flexible, desktop equipment. Next step is the physical-chemical characterization of the electrodes. The electrochemical evaluation is performed in coin cell or other dedicated cell formats and prototypes.


Dry room

Double dry room composed of two interconnected individual rooms:

  • The first one (30m2) is oriented to R+D purposes, including electrolyte additivation and lithium metal based manual cell assembly. The dew point of the room is -60ºC.
  • The second one (50m2) specifically oriented to manual and automatic assembly of the stacks for pouch configuration and semiautomatic electrolyte filling, as part of our Cell Manufacturing Pilot Line (see below). The dew point of the room is -50ºC.

Characterization Equipment

XRD

Identification of crystalline phases and analysis of the microstructure of active materials and fabricated electrodes are carried out with X-Ray Diffractometer.

The characterization of the electrodes at different states of charge in the battery helps in the understanding of the reaction mechanisms occurring in the battery upon cycling.

 

SEM

Materials and fabricated electrodes are studied by Field emission scanning electron microscope. This technique allows determining the morphology, homogeneity and particle size of materials and electrodes. These features define the quality of the electrodes and their impact on the electrochemical performance once the electrodes are placed inside the battery.

 

Rheology

The solid-liquid ratio of the slurries and therefore its viscosity determines the ability of the mixtures to be coated in both laboratory and the pilot plant scale.

The viscosity of the solutions is measured at different shear rates in the rheometer. This analysis allows understanding the feasibility of the slurries to be coated at different speed rates.

Peel test

The adhesion strength of the coated electrodes on the current collector is measured using the peel tester. 90° peel test is performed between two substrates bonded together with an adhesive. The adhesive itself takes the form of a thin layer between the two substrates such as the adhesive located on the underside of a piece of tape that has been placed against a steel plate.

The goal of a peel test is to determine the adhesive strength of the material or the strength of the adhesive bond between two materials. A minimum adhesion strength of the electrode to the current collectors is required for the different processing of the electrodes.

OUR KEY FACILITIES

BATTERY CELL MANUFACTURING PILOT LINE


Slurry mixing

Anodic and cathodic active materials are mixed with the conductive carbon and binders in agreement with the quantities and procedures previously optimised on laboratory scale.

Our goal is to focus on aqueous based slurries in order to produce electrodes by low-cost and environmentally friendly procedures.

Waterborne cathodic and anodic slurries are prepared by mechanical stirring using two planetary mixers in order to avoid the cross contamination.

Temperature and vacuum level can be controlled depending on the requirements on the fabrication procedures.


Electrode coating

Coating line equipped with 3 different coating heads:

Knife, slot die and commar bar that will be selected depending on the desired properties on the electrodes. Drying zone is divided in 3 zones (1m long each) where the temperature and the air flow can be controlled. Dried electrodes are deeply analysed in order to guarantee the homogeneity in thickness and mass loading wide and lengthwise.

The coater has special filters and sensors to be able to coat organic based slurries.


Electrode calendering

The density of the electrodes plays a key role in the electrochemical performance. In order to reach the suitable porosity, electrode rolls are compressed by passing through a continuous calender.


Electrode handling: cutting

Cutting of the electrodes is automatically performed by an electrode cutting die with the required dimensions where usually anodes are slightly larger than cathodes. Each cut electrode is checked by online quality monitoring with an accuracy of 100 micron or less of tolerance.


Cell assembly

Stacking winding machine operates by automatic handling and alignment of the electrodes, with a tolerance of micron scale using a hot pressing lamination step.

The automatic assembled stacks can comprise the suitable number of electrodes to obtain the targeted capacity (from 10 to 50 Ah).

OUR KEY FACILITIES

BATTERY ENGINEERING


Engineering R&D

Starting from target specifications, our engineers design modules and battery packs for specific purposes and applications assisted by several computer design tools.

Then, in our Battery Assembly Workshop, we assemble full size working battery module prototypes for validation under real operating conditions.


High Voltage Test Bench

We have dedicated, specific spaces for High Voltage Battery System validation under real operating conditions. They are equipped with all necessary safety means, as well as auxiliary balance of plant items (cooling, electronic control units, etc.) along with a heavy-duty crane for physical handling of large battery units.


Prototyping equipment

Additive manufacturing

  • 3D printer, up to 406x355x406 mm3
  • Coordinate measuring machine, up to 700x1000x600 mm3

Laser welding

  • Laser welding 2 kW High precision laser welding station
  • Welding target dimensions 1200x615x450 mm3
OUR KEY FACILITIES

TESTING & CHARACTERIZATION


In addition to our previous battery testing facilities, we have made an investment of more than € 6M in equipment in 2020, creating a new space dedicated to advanced testing and prototyping, unique in southern Europe.

Overview of main equipment

  • Coin and small cell level testing (cyclers, thermostated room)
  • Full size cell level testing (cyclers, climatic chambers)
  • Module level testing (cyclers, climatic and altitude simulation chambers)
  • Adiabatic Calorimetry
  • Pack level testing (cycling, vibration, walk-in chambers)
  • Battery system testing (powertrain, power electronics)

Coin and small Cell testing

Temperature controlled room with more than 1050 channels for coin cell and small pouch cell electrochemical testing.


Cell testing

  • Cyclers with 520 charge and discharge channels up to 100A, 1.5V-6V, parallelizable
  • 20 Climatic chambers, ranging from -40ºC up to +180ºC temperature. Usable volume 700 to 1000 litres

Module testing

  • Cyclers with 75 charge and discharge channels up to 50A 0V-100V
  • 5 Climatic Chambers up to -40 +180ºC, 1000 litres
  • Altitude Simulation Cabinet -70 +200ºC, 0,005-1000 mbar

Abuse Testing and Calorimetry

  • Adiabatic, Accelerated Rate Calorimetry up to 40cm ɸ x 44 cm L
  • Suitable for cells and small modules
  • Thermal runaway and thermal parametrization studies
  • Abuse testing at cell level with gas sampling

Battery Pack testing

  • 5 Cyclers up to 250 kW, 1200 V
  • Configurable to reach 1MW of power
  • All channels are manageable from the device under test BMS
Walk in Chambers
  • 2 climatic chambers, 18m3 and 30m3
  • Hazard Level 6
  • Temperature range from -60ºC to +100ºC
  • Relative humidity range 10% to 95% (+10ºC to +70ºC)
Vibration - Mechanical shock
  • Two-shaker electrodynamic system in dual configuration
  • 5 – 2500 Hz, 200kN, max test weight 750 kg
  • Located in a dedicated safety bunker room

Battery system testing

Powertrain test bench
  • Back to back electric motor architecture
  • Capable of handling up to 1200 V, 350 A, 230 kW, 1000 Nm

Power electronics
  • 6 DC channels, 800V/20A/16kW. (Source and Load)
  • 2 AC channels, 400V/60A/50kW. (Source and Load)
  • Battery emulator 1200V/800A/250kW.