TU Freiberg Scientist Honored for Developing New High-Performance Batteries for Electric Vehicles

Charaf Cherkouk
Dr. Charaf Cherkouk and his team from the Institute of Experimental Physics at TU Bergakademie Freiberg received a technology and innovation award recently from the Helmholtz Centre Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) for their development of new high-performance batteries for electric vehicles.

The awards ceremony took place on March 14 in Rossendorf.

Awarded second place by the jury, the cooperative project describes a process for using silicon, a semiconductor, as a material for high-performance batteries. Against the backdrop of the expansion of renewable energies, this technology is of particular interest, as the growing number of electric vehicles is also increasing global demand for energy storage systems with the highest possible energy densities. The new process for using a silicon semiconductor as an anode material and the prerequisites for series production are now being developed by scientists from TU Freiberg in the "SiNergy" collaborative project, which is funded by the Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB) – the Development Bank of the State of Saxony. The cooperation partners include the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

"There is already a patent pending on the process – a process that enables us to produce silicon as an anode material at low cost. With regard to electric vehicles and in addition to safety aspects, a reduction in the manufacturing costs of high-performance batteries could become a decisive factor for the expansion of electromobility in Germany," explained Dr. Charaf Cherkouk, a staff member of the Institute of Experimental Physics and the SiNergy project coordinator. The patent for this essential component will be used for industrial applications.

"The storage density of battery cells can be increased by using electrode materials with higher energy density. This requires alternative storage technologies and material systems with readily available raw materials and the highest energy densities. This is where the SiNergy project comes in. Together with industrial partners, the prerequisites for series production using silicon as an anode material will be developed over a period of two years," explained project leader Prof. Dirk C. Meyer, Director of the Institute of Experimental Physics and the Center for Efficient High-Temperature Substance Conversion (ZeHS).

In commercial lithium-ion batteries, carbon-based materials – especially graphite – have been the most commonly used materials to date. The most serious disadvantage of graphite, however, is its low storage capacity. Silicon, on the other hand, has more than ten times the storage capacity at room temperature and is, therefore, preferable to graphite if it can be stabilized for its intended purpose. 

The project also integrates two regional industrial partners: Norafin Germany Industrie GmbH and Rovak GmbH.

Contact person: Dr. Charaf Cherkouk
Tel: +49 3731 419 147