The COMET Module BattLab combines multi-physics virtual material engineering and fundamental polymer science to pave the way towards safe high-performance battery systems of the future.

In the context of the current climate change, battery research has been identified as an important prerequisite for the transition to a carbon neutral society. Batteries enable electromobility and greater penetration of renewable energy technologies through stationary energy storage. However, batteries are complex multi-material systems and advances in research are currently not keeping pace with the demands for high power densities and safety requirements. Current progress in the study of individual components of a complex multi-material system is severely limited by the fact that the resulting system behavior cannot be predicted accurately. System simulation results are often oversimplified and do not account for local effects. Intended improvements on design and material level may therefore unexpectedly have a negative interaction with other system components, which only becomes apparent during qualification or, even worse, during operation. Battlab will thus drive the development of new battery generations by adopting a virtual engineering approach that leverages polymer science and considers the in-depth system physics on multiple scale levels.

BattLab will introduce an efficient method to predict the influence of individual adaptions on the overall system behavior by a full-scale automated coupling of a global model with detailed local models. The challenges to implementation are, on the one hand, the required multi-disciplinarily for the approach (chemistry, electro-chemistry, material physics, constitutive modeling, numerical algorithms, machine learning, etc..), and, on the other hand, the relevance and effects of minor variations at micro-scale. According to the project requirements, an excellent consortium with all the necessary competences has been defined, ready to face the challenges.

The BattLab approach consists of three major pillars which are consistent with the overall goals: (i) functional polymeric materials introducing a new level of safety for battery systems (ii) identification and modeling of degradation on battery cell level (iii) a virtual material and design assessment tool with a full scale global-to-local link. Accordingly, three subprojects are defined, which will be strongly interconnected, as virtual prediction will be a basis for the tailored material development on the one hand, and the measured material performance will be the basis for the calibration of the constitutive material models on the other hand. In addition, simulation at the local level will provide the foundation for homogenized simulations at the global level and for training a neural network based local metamodel. These local metamodels will in turn provide the link between the global system and a full-scale local assessment.

Selected examples for potential innovations initiated by BattLab results include: (i) new efficient battery safety monitoring FFG Projektdatenbank - Stand 08.07.2024 3 systems based on functional polymer coatings releasing tracer molecules, (ii) functional temperature and pressure triggered cell-to-cell thermal insulation composites, (iii) accurate and efficiently calibrated battery ‘State of Health’ simulation models enabling a circular battery economy by providing data for a second life and recycling strategies, (iv) an optimization tool for the cell degradation based on parametrized predictive models that allow screening of a vast design space, and (v) a simulation approach linking the global behavior of complex multi-material systems with critical local failures. The planned BattLab approach will enable new battery technology concepts and will serve as a Battery Material and Design Development Acceleration Laboratory.