Battery Section

Advanced Electrode Materials for Li-ion and Na-ion batteries, and beyond
Prof. Dr. Maksym Kovalenko (Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry EHTZ)
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Most of today's applications of Lithium-ion batteries (e-mobility, portable electronics etc.) face growing demands for significantly improved performance: higher energy density, improved cycling performance, safety, flexibility in device integration, etc. We pursuit three projects aiming to solve these problems through the engineering of novel electrode materials. There is a great interest in the development of nanostructured anode and cathode materials. Colloidal chemical synthesis is very attractive as it offers routine access to materials with the mean crystallite size in the range of 3-20 nm. Non-aqueous synthesis, in particular, allows also inexpensive access to nanocrystals and nanoparticles with very high degree of compositional, morphological and size-uniformity. We will present several examples of highly-monodisperse, sub-20nm nanocrystals (Sn, Sb, Ge, etc.) as anode materials, showing improved cycling stability and high charge-storage capacities. Besides the selection of an active material, equally important is optimal choice of the other components of the cell such as polymer binders and electrolytes. Substantial differences are observed when same binder is used for Li-ion and Na-ion chemistries, and the reasons aren’t clear yet. Focusing on Na-ion batteries, this project studies the details of the degradation mechanism of a very common binder PVDF, and the effect of fluoroethylene carbonate additive in the electrolyte. Tin is chosen as a low-cost, high-capacity anode material in these studies. The last project aims at non-metal-ion technology, but rather on alternative particular metal-water and metal-air batteries. The goal is to new electrolytes and selective membranes to realize such battery types in a safe and reversible manner.

Batteries in the Challenge of Expectations and Realizations
Dr. Pascal Häring (Renata SA)
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Renata is a well established battery producer and supplier for primary and secondary batteries, mainly producing a broad product range of primary button cells in high volumes. But with swissness in the bones, flexibility in the muscles and in novation in the head, Renata is acting successfully as an interesting partner for system developers und design centres for electronic devices.Current developments of modern portable electronic devices tend to reduce the power consumption significantly to enhance the application for longer service life, or for more functions and/or smaller batteries. On the other hand new applications are coming into the market or new additional functions to already existing application are integrated, such as radio communication, data logging functions, displays, sensors, access restriction controls etc.One of the most critical parts in the development of these devices is the battery, as it will influence strongly the overall specifications for the use, the service time, the availability, weight and size of these applications ...(see book of abstracts for the complete text)

Thermal Energy Section

Following an outline of the motivation for heat storage in general and Switzerland in particular, the collaborators involved in the SCCER heat-storage research and development effort will be introduced. The objectives and current status of the projects on both low- and high-temperature heat storage will be described. Particular emphasis will be placed on explaining the relevance of the projects for the Energy Strategy 2050 and existing or potential industrial collaborations. The presentation will close with an outlook of future activities.

Industrial Packed Bed of Rocks Thermal Energy Storage

G. Zanganeh, A. Pedretti, G. Ambrosetti (Airlight Energy Holding SA)

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Thermal energy storage (TES) systems enable dispatchability of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants and are therefore a crucial component in increasing the overall value of such plants. However, in commercially available CSP plants, typically using molten salt as TES, the cost of the TES system is about 10-15% of the total plant cost. Airlight Energy’s solar collector uses air as heat transfer fluid which enables the use of a simple yet effective TES system. The TES is based on a packed bed of rocks in a concrete container that is charged via direct heat exchange with air. Besides the drastically cheaper heat storage medium, the TES system eliminates the need for heat exchangers, typically necessary for molten salt TES systems, hence reducing significantly the overall TES costs. ...(see book of abstracts for the complete text)

Hydrogen Section

The storage of renewable energy is the greatest challenge for the transition from the fossil aera to a sustainable future energy economy. Hydrogen produced from renewable energy leads to a closed cycle, because the water released from the combustion condenses in the atmosphere. The challenge in the large scale application of H2 is the storage with a high gravimetric and volumetric density. based on todays knowledge a hydrogen storage is limited to about 20 mass% and 70 kg/m3. Moreover the affordable and sustainable production of hydrogen using renewable energy faces challenges in off-grid and small-scale (distributed) application...(see book of abstracts for the complete text)

Megawatt Scale PEM Electrolysis for Energy Storage Applications
Dipl. Ing. Marc Uffer, Dr. Hans Jörg Vock (Diamond Lite SA)
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As the percentage of the traditional electrical grid power supplied by renewable sources such as wind and solar energy grows, energy storage solutions are required in order to maintain stable grid performance. These solutions have to provide both generation capacity for periods of low renewable generation or peak demand, and storage capacity for peak periods such as high wind periods and mid-day with low cloud cover. Specific areas of the world such as Germany and California are already requiring energy storage as part of new renewable installations based on these issues. Hydrogen from electrolysis is a promising technology for all of the above applications, also providing potential linkages between other infrastructures such as transportation to provide flexibility in the overall solution. Hydrogen has the capability to store massive amounts of energy in a relatively small volume, with no carbon footprint when generated from electrolysis of water and renewable energy. Electrolysis can also provide ancillary services (e.g., load shifting and frequency regulation) for grid stability, resulting in multiple value streams. The hydrogen produced can be injected into the natural gas pipeline, in the production of high value chemicals such as ammonia, in upgrading of biogas, or used as a transportation fuel. Europe in particular has been committed to these pathways and making heavy investment in both materials research and system design and development as well as technology demonstration. In Germany, hydrogen is looked upon as a key part of the energy storage solution under “Energiewende,” their national sustainable energy transition plan. Hydrogen provides a unique link between the electric and gas grid infrastructures (often referred to as “PtG= Power-to-Gas”). Proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis is attractive for hydrogen generation applications because of the lack of corrosive electrolytes, small footprint, and ability to generate at high hydrogen pressure, requiring only water and an energy source. The major market challenge for PEM competing directly with traditional liquid alkaline electrolysis technology has been product scale ...(see book of abstracts for the complete text.

Synthetic Fuel Section

In this presentation the research groups participating in the working group ‘Catalytic and Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction’ will be introduced with an emphasis on previous relevant research on CO2 chemistry. The expertise and unique research tools that will be shared between the research groups will be highlighted.Collaborations with other groups on CO2 chemistry that could contribute towards the success of the working group will also mentioned. Also, the synergies and parallels between the materials being developed for applications in the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 into fuels and the homogeneous/heterogeneous catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation will be made. Finally some highlights of very recent research successes on the transformation of CO2 into chemicals and fuels will be given.
The enlargement of the feed - in capacity of volatile renewable electricity into the grid implies the necessity to convert this energy into storable materials during times, where the excess of energy cannot be consumed by the net. The Power-to-Gas or SolarFuel concept stores the excess energy in i.e. methane, which could be eventually back converted into electricity on demand. Such seasonal, large scale concepts are very reasonable from the energetic and ecological point of view. However, it is very hard to obtain economic feasibility when considering the low fossil energy carrier prices and the physical efficiency limitations of the processes. Power-to-Value targets to maximize the ecological and economical benefit with respect to the available excess energy. Therefore its scaling is limited only by the stage of expansion of the absolute amount and proportion of solar and/or wind energy in the grid mix. Power-to-Value unifies energy storage, emission reduction, chemical feedstock and economic feasibility. The price of most chemical compounds is much higher when compared to its energy content. ...(see book of abstracts for the complete text.)

Technology Interaction Section

Competencies on how to improve the flexibility between power, heat and fuel are essential for Switzerland’s energy turnaround. Focusing on this important concept, the team of Workpackage 5 ‘Technology Interaction of Storage Systems’ is building up common compentencies and cooperations. While countries like Germany have built up a profound know-how in future storage combinations and demands, Switzerland lacks such information. The team seeks to build up this competence in Switzerland. A comprehensive sustainability assessment has been started. It is based on the 3 traditional areas of sustainability assessment with a focus on cost and environmental indicators. The system analysis is conducted at the level of individual technologies and clusters of technologies and at the national scale for Switzerland. Close cooperation with SCCER CREST has been established and further meetings with SCCER FURIES are foreseen. Common working groups between SCCER Storage and SCCER FEEBD and EIP have been established. Performance, safety, dependability are further assessment critieria in particular for battery system solutions in any application. Qualified and verified procedures to estimate reliability and lifetime as well as compliance with safety regulations of electricity storage systems with batteries are established. Assessment and new ways of battery production are part of this investigation. Flexibility between power, heat, and electricity are of special focus as well in developing an electrothermal energy conversion unit and in realizing demonstration projects and pilot projects for power to gas systems. In this context, the team of WP5 has established new industry cooperations and started planning test-and demonstration units.
Künftig soll der grösste Teil unserer Energie aus regenerativen Quellen stammen. So wollen es die politischen Kräfte in Bundesbern. Auch wenn um die Höhe und das Tempo noch gerungen wird, ist eines sicher: es kommen grosse Herausforderungen auf die Energiebranche zu. Vor diesem Hintergrund hat die Regio Energie Solothurn unter dem Namen „Hybridwerk“ ein innovatives Projekt in Angriff genommen. Auf dem Areal Aarmatt verfügt die Regio Energie Solothurn über eine ideale Ausgangslage zur Realisierung dieses Projektes. Die drei Energienetze Strom, Gas und Fernwarme kommen auf diesem Areal zusammen. Das jüngste Netz in der Infrastruktur der Regio Energie Solothurn ist das Fernwärmenetz. Es war ursprünglich der Auslöser für das Projekt...(see book of abstracts for the complete text.)
The demand for storage of heat and electricity results not only from the technical characteristics of the energy system but also from the behavior of consumers and the investment and operating decisions of providers. This holds in particular for local storage options, where effects of individual decisions even out to a much smaller extent than in large-scale storage approaches. The presentation highlights several research streams in SCCER CREST that aim at understanding and analyzing households' demand and providers’ investment decisions. This research also shows how these decisions can be influenced via energy policy and the design of energy markets. It thus provides a link between energy policy, individual decisions, and the economic benefits offered by different storage options.