HELENA, the next generation of solid-state batteries that will enable electric aviation to take off
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HELENA, the next generation of solid-state batteries that will enable electric aviation to take off

Zabala Innovation is part of the consortium of 15 partners from 8 countries working on the project funded by the Horizon Europe programme

Halide solid state batteries for ELectric vEhicles aNd Aircrafts’ (HELENA) is a new Horizon Europe funded project led by the CIC Energigune research centre. The aim of HELENA is to develop safe and efficient solid-state batteries with high energy and power density, based on a high-voltage active material, a high-capacity lithium metal anode and a conductive lithium halide electrolyte. With this development, the end-user will be able to benefit from increased performance in long-distance electric mobility and fast battery charging. In addition, the scaling up of the technology will reduce the manufacturing costs of these storage devices. The project will last four years and will have a budget of eight million euros.

Zabala Innovation is leading the Communication and Dissemination of the project, as well as collaborating in the project management tasks. HELENA is a communication challenge in the Energy area and joins other innovation projects such as ROMEO, NESOI and DATA CELLAR.

HELENA has an international consortium led by CIC Energigune and includes companies and institutions from eight European countries: Spain (Zabala Innovation), Austria (Austrian Institute of Technology), France (Saint Gobain Recherche, IFP Energies nouvelles), Belgium (Umicore), Netherlands (Lionvolt, Nederlandse Organisatie TNO), Germany (Fraunhofer, Customcells Holding, Rheinisch-Westfaelische, Mimi Tech, FEV Europe), Slovenia (Pipistrel Vertical Solutions), Italy (Leonardo).

HELENA’s contribution to the European landscape

HELENA will support Europe in its climate-neutral transition, as electric aviation is set to take off in the next five to ten years, with innovations already underway for electric vehicle batteries. In addition, HELENA will avoid dependence on Asia for battery production.

The project consortium is fully multi-disciplinary with extensive research expertise spanning the entire battery value chain and proposes a disruptive halide-based solid-state cell technology, with the overall objective of significantly increasing the adoption of these batteries in aircraft.

The importance of batteries in Europe

Batteries are a strategic part of Europe’s transition to clean energy and digitalisation and a key enabling technology, essential for the competitiveness of many sectors. In this respect, lithium-ion batteries are the cutting-edge technology that is continuously being developed in academia and industry. Therefore, the European Commission aims to make Europe a world leader in the production and sustainable use of batteries. In this regard, initiatives such as the European Battery Alliance (EBA) launched in 2017 by the European Commission, EU countries, industry and the scientific community.

The development of sustainable and reliable batteries is an urgent necessity to accelerate the transition to a CO2-neutral society. The materials and processes that HELENA intends to use are seen as a major game changer for the development of solid-state batteries that meet key requirements such as high ionic conductivity at room temperature and cost-effective, environmentally friendly processing, among others.

Currently, the EU industry is highly dependent on foreign battery technologies, which blocks its global leadership in key strategic sectors such as e-mobility, large-scale stationary storage, robotics for grid regulation and internet-of-things frequency, etc. It is therefore essential to create a strong EU battery industry and value chain in the EU to avoid technological dependence on non-EU competitors and to exploit the employment, growth and investment potential of batteries. employment, growth and investment potential of batteries. HELENA is ready to contribute to this ambitious goal by developing an innovative generation of 4b-halide batteries for electromobility.

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