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The MOBI research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is investing in a high-tech pilot line for the development and production of new battery technologies for electric vehicles. This pilot line has an ultramodern dry room, whose precisely controlled humidity and temperature will allow researchers to develop the next generation of batteries from innovative materials. With this investment, MOBI is aiming to push through ground-breaking developments in the capacity of batteries in the short term. Its aim is to increase battery capacity so that electric cars can be driven for longer distances without recharging, up to 800km. In addition, the innovations should also reduce battery costs so that electric cars become more affordable.
A dry room is a space in which the humidity and temperature can be accurately controlled, to ensure safety and to improve the quality of the battery produced. The room’s dew point – the temperature at which water vapour condenses – is -50°C, and it can handle a dew point of -45°C while two people are working in it. In addition, the room will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as a ball mill, a blade coater and a hot calendering machine. It will mainly be used for the development of solid-state batteries.
MOBI’s Battery Innovation Centre (BIC) is Belgium’s main centre of expertise for the research and development of energy storage systems for electric vehicles and stationary applications. Many industrial companies develop their R&D with MOBI by using their state-of-the-art equipment and knowledge. Professor Joeri Van Mierlo, director of MOBI: “Our research within the Battery Innovation Centre is constantly growing and has already produced excellent expert knowledge. With the installation of the dry room and our expertise, it will be possible to realise further developments in battery technology.”
The dry room project started on 29 July this year and will be built on the VUB campus in Etterbeek. Construction will take six months, so the pilot line and its dry room will be fully operational by early 2020.