A research project in the frame of Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) – Marie Curie Actions

The management of the electricity supply interruptions that can occur unexpectedly is vital for hospitals, telecommunication centers, airports, supermarkets, banks, tunnels or critical production plants. About 20 seconds are needed to start an additional electric generator of several megawatts (e.g., a diesel generator). To ensure the uninterrupted power supply (UPS), an intermediate device capable of delivering such a high power within a fraction of a second and keeping it up to about 20 seconds is needed. Lead-acid battery has been meeting the demand of uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) at a megawatt scale for many decades. Its power to weight ratio is, however, very low and appears as major inconvenience.

Lithium-ion capacitors have recently emerged as an interesting alternative. Their competitive advantage over lead-acid battery is an important reduction of the device size. Compared to Li-ion batteries, Li-ion capacitors offer a better compromise between power and energy for this application.

This technology was identified as a new opportunity for SOLVAY to promote the products typically sold on the lithium-ion battery market. Li-ion capacitor could also be used to improve the fuel saving and reduce the CO2 emission in hybrid vehicles.

A SOLVAY researcher sought partners to the forefront in this field of research in 2010. Two academic teams (Poznan University of Technology, Kiev National University of Technologies and Design) and two small companies (YUNASKO from Ukraine and RECUPYL from France) were selected. They joined SOLVAY in the collaborative project “Energy Caps”, sponsored by the European Marie Curie funding program “IAPP” (Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways) with more than 2 million Euros.

The objective of the project is to demonstrate the market perspectives of this emerging technology (Li-ion capacitors).

The project started at the end of 2011. It has a mixture of secondments (26 researchers, 143 months) and recruitments.

Academic partners are involved in electrodes, electrolytes, separator and current collector development/ optimisation.

RECUPYL is currently developing a recycling process and assessing environmental impacts.

YUNASKO develops a prototype of Lithium-ion capacitor. The device provides an energy density similar to that of lead-acid battery, a charging time as low as 1 minute, and a number of cycles and power capability improved at least by a factor of 100. Solvay products have been used in the electrodes, the separator and the electrolyte mixture. According to YUNASKO, LiTFSI, produced by SOLVAY is the preferred lithium salt for Li-ion capacitor.






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