European Union Backs Development Of 500 Wh/kg Lithium Sulfur Batteries For Deployment By 2019

SEP 2 2015 BY MARK KANE 25

Depiction of Commercial products and ALISE partners interest in taking innovation to Market

Depiction of Commercial products and ALISE partners interest in taking innovation to Market



European Union launched a new battery project ALISE – Advanced Lithium Sulphur battery for xEV with a goal to develop stable 500 Wh/kg Li-S cells by 2019.

500 Wh/kg is more or less double the state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells currently used in EVs.

EU is the sole contributor to this project with €6,899,233 ($7.6 million).

Among partners, there is LiS cells developer OXIS Energy, which we’ve covered a few times in the past. According to ALISE, OXIS already has 325 Wh/kg cells.

“The ALISE consortium has been constituted of:

  • 15 partners
    • 6 Industrials: FICOSA, OXIS Energy, CTS SEAT, VARTA Microbattery GmbH, DARAMIC, IDNEO
    • 4 SME: AVICENNE Energy, SOLVIONIC, C-Tech Innovation, R&D Vehicle Systems Ltd
    • 3 Research Centers: LEITAT Technological Center, Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Técnicas (CEIT), IWS Fraunhofer
    • 2 Academics: TUD Dresden University, Politecnio di Torino (POLITO)
  • from 5 European countries represented within the consortium: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom.”

The sole carmaker SEAT will at the end of the project use new batteries in a 17 kWh battery pack for a test car. At 500 Wh/kg weight of the cells alone should be only 34 kg.

“ALISE is a pan European collaboration focused on the development and commercial scale-up of new materials and on the understanding of the electrochemical processes involved in the lithium sulphur technology. It aims to create impact by developing innovative battery technology capable of fulfilling the expected and characteristics from European Automotive Industry needs, European Materials Roadmap, Social factors from vehicle consumers and future competitiveness trends and European Companies positioning.

The project is focused to achieve 500 Wh/Kg stable LiS cell. The project involves dedicated durability, testing and LCA activities that will make sure the safety and adequate cyclability of battery being developed and available at competitive cost. Initial materials research will be scaled up during the project so that pilot scale quantities of the new materials will be introduced into the novel cell designs thus giving the following advancements over the current state of the art. The project approach will bring real breakthrough regarding new components, cell integration and architecture associated. New materials will be developed and optimized regarding anode, cathode, electrolyte and separator.

Complete panels of specific tools and modelling associated will be developed from the unit cell to the batteries pack.

Activities are focused on the elaboration of new materials and processes at TRL4. Demonstration of the lithium Sulphur technology will be until batteries pack levels with validation onboard. Validation of prototype (17 kWh) with its driving range corresponding (100 km) will be done on circuit. ALISE is more than a linear bottom-up approach from materials to cell.

ALISE shows strong resources to achieve a stable unit cell, with a supplementary top-down approach from the final application to the optimization of the unit cell.”

Source: EU, ALISE via Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech


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25 Comments on "European Union Backs Development Of 500 Wh/kg Lithium Sulfur Batteries For Deployment By 2019"

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Fantastic… now all that’s left is the trivial task of creating the 500Wh/kg LiS cell technology.

…that’s not problem…they are allocating $7.6M to get it done…easy peesy…

Have they considered allocating $15.2M to get it done twice as fast?

I got $20… would that get it done faster?

Seems too late and way too little. The US Battery Hub was launched in 2012 with $120M. The Japanese and Chinese are also spending heavily and for longer periods. Ditto the Koreans, which seem to be working with the US.

$7.2 Million will pay the salaries of 152 researchers making $50K a yr. for just 1 full year.

Oh wait a minute, I forgot the useless bureaucrat salaries, otherwise know as administrative costs. Subtract them from the money.

Then there is test equipment and research materials costs, prototypes, testing in actual automobiles and so forth.

All of a sudden 7.1 million to find a salvation battery for humanity doesn’t seem like very much money at all.

Nevertheless, it’s good news even if it isn’t the Manhattan Project.

“152 researchers making $50K a yr”

You can be sure that at least the researchers at TUD get wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy less… I bet they would be happy to get half of that.

When I read the article, the thought that came to mind is that if you’re serious about developing a low cost, reliable, long lasting 500Whr/kg battery, then you really should plan on doing a Manhattan Project. Once said battery is developed, you would have no problems recovering the cost of developing it.

What did the Manhattan Project cost, about $20B in terms of todays money?

Like others have pointed out, $7.6M isn’t going to buy much in terms of research and development.

The only problem with Li-S is that the volumetric density is relatively low. Li-S batteries that have 500Wh/kg would also likely have a volumetric density of 500Wh/l. The 18650 cells in a Model S are already over 700Wh/l. So the battery would be twice as light but take up more space.

This is why Li-S batteries are most commonly used in aerospace right now. The Solar Impulse 2 uses Li-S batteries because of their light weight and lots of interior volume.

Liquid Hydrogen: 2,600 Wh/l 39,000 Wh/kg

$7 million for a miracle battery that would be worth billions? Chump change compared to the hundreds of millions of taxpayers money that is wasted on a guaranteed dead end technology like hydrogen.

I think everyone would agree that if they can really develop a commercial product for only $7 million, it would be a fantastically good deal.

But several other companies and/or research groups are also working on this same problem. If all they needed was $7 million in funding, then someone would already have done this.

No one can demand that invention occur according to deadline, nor mandate innovation by throwing money at it. Maybe the breakthough(s) needed to commercialize lithium-sulfur batteries will occur next year in a well-funded corporate R&D lab. And maybe they won’t occur for 10 years, and will happen in some lone, struggling inventor’s garage.

..or maybe spending the sort of money on it that is spend on hydrogen would result in a miracle battery next year, who knows?

As an European myself an surrounded here by Eurocrats I can confirm that EU pouring $7 millions in this research would be as efficient for energy density as me singing a song for example. Except I would only charge $7.

+1000 !

Most likely they write a report at the end, which states that “further research” is needed on xyz and that they will need another $7M to do that during the next 3 years. Well at least they are busy.

For those interested in more, this is funded under the EU CORDIS framework, see here:

A company I worked for participated in a similiarly-run EU tech consortium project (unrelated to EVs or batteries), where each company/academic institution got EU funding to match its own (under the EU FP7 programme).

As people have noted, the total amount here seems very low given the type of project (result is supposed to be an actual baterry that can be used in a car); not to mention there are 15 participants, a couple getting <170K Euros over 4 years — that's not enough to cover a single engineer.

As a comparison, the project I was involved (in the area of TV for mobile devices) in had a similar total budget (6.5M Euros) and number of partners, but that over two years; it did not require doing basic science R&D or engineering, only writing prototype software for a video comm. application.

The work will be done by PhD students and PostDocs. Both are cheap as hell compared to an engineer in industry.

You get around 1.5-3 PostDocs for the salary of an engineer. This means they have 10 people doing reserach instead of 4???

170k€ over 4 years is really a joke, this is less than half a engineer (engineer + overhead cost added).

Tying some chickens together won’t make them an eagle…


I am gobsmacked by how transcendentally appropriate that analogy is.

Cavaron, I’m going to use that in the future (-:

Tony Stark was able to build it in a cave with scraps!

Have you ever been directly involved in EU research projects? I have (I was in charge of my company’s part, and was familiar with the detailed budget). That’s not how it works.
First, only 2 of the 15 participant orgs are academic. All the rest are commercial or professional research, where the fully loaded cost of an engineer is ~100K Euros/year.
Second, even at a university such an effort would have to be led by a senior faculty researcher (a.k.a. “PI”), whose salary isn’t less than that of an engineer’s.

Fully loaded == adding the various overheads & taxesan employer has to pay government(s) above the direct employee salary. Note in Europe this is a much higher % than in the US.

Also, the non-salary costs aren’t going to be chesp either: They need several cars as test mules, material to build (presumably many) battery variants, and to conduct longish-term tests (to determine battery degradation over time, for example).

In fact, due to the last factor alone I can’t see how a project like that can take anything less than 5 years; simulation, esp. of a new battery chemistry/construction, will take you only so far, and you need to have multiple batteries physically used in vehicles over years to collect data.

They need more like $700 million each year for 5 years.