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“Batteries are a key contributor when it comes to accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles as a replacement of internal combustion engine vehicles.”
Interview with Stéphane Henriot
Program manager at IFP Energies nouvelles (RTO)
In charge of Storage, Fuel Cell and Energy Systems for Sustainable Mobility.
What is the goal of the MODALIS² project?
The MODALIS² project aims at providing a new modelling toolchain dedicated to next generation batteries linking modelling and experimental approach from the material to the complete system. It is grounded on the modelling expertise of IFPEN and SISW which provides Simcenter softwares, as well as University of Torino developing the CRYSTAL software dedicated to atomistic modelling. Gathering the skills of other partners in material manufacturing, multiscale modelling, multiscale material and cell characterization, links between theses softwares will be developed in order to allow end-users such as material, battery cells and electric vehicles manufacturers to improve the development and integration of materials, batteries and storage systems.
Why did IFPEN decide to take over the coordinator’s role?
For more than 10 years, IFPEN has been working on battery modelling as well as battery characterization as batteries play a central role in the field of vehicle electrification. Thanks to its skills and know-how IFPEN has been able to forge a long lasting partnership with Siemens which leads to the codevelopment of models integrated in Simcenter Amesim toolbox and also to the involvement in several European projects in the past. As the LC-BAT-6 subject were released, it appeared that IFPEN could play a central role in this call dedicated to battery modelling and federate former partners within the consortium.
What are your expectations from the project? What do you see as the high level objective?
For IFPEN, as a RTO working in the energy and energy transition domains, the aim of this project is perfectly aligned with its missions. The main objective is to address global warming and contribute to its containment. This project, that we initiated with our partners, aims to develop simulation tools to help industry speed up the development of the next generation of batteries. The final objective is to help produce cheap, high density and efficient batteries for electric vehicles. To that end, IFPEN, by developing dedicated physical models and simulation tools using its long lasting experience, will help accelerate industrial development process.
What are the main challenges the project is facing?
Even before the COVID crisis, the MODALIS² project was already challenging. Addressing next generation batteries, means that the State of the Art is limited compared to Gen 3a or Gen2 in terms of modelling of course but also in terms of manufacturing from the material to the cell level. As a consequence, even before beginning model developments, we had to make sure that the material processing was reliable enough to get representative results leading to some change in the material choices and electrode formulation. Then the multiplicity of modelling scale and physics requires a good communication among project partners in order to correctly understand the expectations of each teams and the outputs of each modelling work. In the end this proves to be a really interesting exercise with a widening of knowledge for each partner which is greatly valuable.
What is the added value of the project for Europe? Who specifically benefits from the project?
During the past years, to limit greenhouse gas emissions due to transportation and tackle global warming, Europe has been accelerating vehicle electrification development. Batteries are a key contributor when it comes to accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles as a replacement of internal combustion engine vehicles. Indeed they are at the heart of improving global efficiency of electric vehicles and their ecosystem, decreasing the cost and increasing the range of electric vehicles. The aim of the project, is to support modelling tools development to better take into account physical and chemical phenomena encountered in future batteries. Such tools will enable the European industry to speed up the developments of the next generations of batteries (from Gen 3 to Gen 4), thereby reducing the time to market of these new batteries generations which is crucial to speed up electric vehicle use on the roads and to secure the European battery industry’s leadership. Among the main stakeholders of this project, European Battery Alliance partners (Saft, Umicore, Solvay and Siemens) also involved in the MODALIS² project are the main end-users of the developments made by the project. By listening to their needs, software developers involved in the project will provide fit for purpose tools so that the European battery industry will obviously benefit. But most importantly the European people and future generations of Europeans will benefit the most from affordable, efficient and increased range electric vehicles allowing to contain global warming without compromising their mobility.