Technology e-mobility: storage problems in sight

Technology e-mobility: storage problems in sight

Charging instead of refueling – e-mobility is gaining momentum. However, there’s also a breaking factor: The built-in battery technology still leaves something to be desired. But something is happening! In its January issue, Bild der Wissenshaft reports on progress and challenges in the areas of loading times, capacity, raw material requirements and recycling.

More and more cars are driving quietly and emissions-free through our roads: e-mobility is on trend as it becomes more and more attractive: the switch from internal combustion to electric motors seems sensible with respect to the environment and climate , and the practicality of the technology has become apparent in recent years. There has also been a lot of progress in terms of range and charging time. Nevertheless, battery technology still represents the biggest challenge for scientists and engineers in the field of e-mobility: the development of safer and increasingly powerful energy storage systems is in demand.

In the first article of the three-part title topic “Batteries for the e-world,” BDW technology editor Ralph Butcher focuses on the development of so-called solid-state batteries. Unlike today’s lithium-ion batteries, these storage systems contain no liquid, but only solid material. Therefore they cannot leak or burn and thus increase the level of safety in electrical engineering. In addition, it is expected that there will be an increase in performance, which is why automobile manufacturers are investing a lot of money in the development of solid-state batteries. Butscher examines the extent to which the system can fulfill its promise. According to this, there is indeed potential, but some problems with materials and manufacturing technology still remain unsolved.

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About performance, raw material requirements and recycling

Then BDW author Jan Berndorff focused on the problem of the huge demand for raw materials for rapidly growing electromobility. It’s mainly about lithium. Up to ten kilograms of this alkali metal can be found in electric car batteries. So far it has been propagated in only a few areas of the world – often with environmental damage. In addition, lithium has to be carried to us over long distances. As Berndorf reports, some of the coveted metals may come from domestic sources in the future: the Ore Mountains and mines in the Alps provide an opportunity to mine lithium-rich minerals. Another concept is based on geothermal energy: as with geothermal energy, lithium can be obtained from deep water. Nevertheless, it is becoming clear that domestic deposits alone will not meet the huge demand.

However, recycling technology can also contribute to the lithium supply, as can be seen in the article “Treasure Chest Old Batteries”. As BDW writer Klaus Sieg reports in this, in addition to alkali metals, other valuables can also be recovered from old batteries. However, the processes involved are more difficult than you might think. But solutions are in the works: a process that the Technical University of Braunschweig is involved in developing is particularly promising, Sieg reports.

You can find out more in the January issue of Bild der Wissenshaft, which will be available in stores from December 21.

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