New Cluster of Excellence Holds First General Assembly

The 25 research group leaders and other responsible persons of the new cluster of excellence, which bears the name POLiS (Post Lithium Storage), met at HIU to set the course for a fast and successful start of the research work. Prof. Joachim Ankerhold, Vice President of the Ulm University, emphasised in his welcoming address how well the two locations Ulm and Karlsruhe complement  each other in their specialisations in battery research and highlighted the HIU as the first successful example. Prof. Maximilian Fichtner, who was elected spokesperson of the cluster of excellence, reminded the audience that of a total of five applications from battery research, only the POLiS application survived the first round of applications. Due to the large number of research groups and new projects, the cluster employees will move into a new research building on the campus of the Ulm University in March. 

 

The cluster’s research concentrates on so-called post lithium batteries, i.e. batteries that run completely without lithium. One reason for this is that the maximum storage capacity of conventional lithium-ion batteries is nearly reached. Also, the extraction of the constituents – such as cobalt, graphite, and lithium – carries political, environmental and economic risks. A scarcity of resources and the uncertain political situations of some countries with large repositories could lead to supply disruptions. Also in many cases, the extraction of e.g. cobalt is associated with high environmental impact. In order to achieve progress in performance and make batteries more sustainable, the development of new, alternative storage materials and concepts must be driven forward. The cluster’s electrochemists, materials scientists and modellers are studying sodium, magnesium and aluminium as alternative charge carriers. The aim is to cover the entire development chain of a battery, from basic material research to technology transfer.

 

At the end of September last year, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, approved the joint application for a cluster of excellence of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Ulm, together with the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the University of Gießen.

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