Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium) has opened a new pilot research unit today at its plant in La Rochelle, France. The unit will enable Solvay to scale up development of advanced inorganic materials for solid electrolytes – a key component of the next generation of batteries for the automotive industry.
The new unit will assess the industrial feasibility of the materials used in the manufacturing process of generation 4 batteries, or so-called “solid state” batteries. Solid state batteries are expected to replace lithium-ion batteries in the coming years, offering increased safety, improved performance and a reduction in the total cost of ownership.
Solvay’s leading position in battery technologies makes it a key player in this field, well placed to support its customers in this transition. The pilot unit, which is part of Solvay’s Battery growth platform, will enable the Group to answer customers’ needs by delivering products on a semi-industrial scale. Solvay will also carry out process studies to help prepare for the industrialization phase in the coming years.
“The world has never needed so many batteries, powering today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable cities, communities and technologies. We are contributing to this underlying trend by focusing our efforts on innovation that will bring new, safer and more efficient solutions to our customers – meeting the automotive industry’s rising demand for electric vehicles,” said Ilham Kadri, Solvay CEO. “With more than 20 years of expertise, Solvay is the front-runner in Europe for this new technology and we’ll continue to work on innovative and disruptive technologies for the next generations of battery technologies.“
The Nouvelle Aquitaine region and the French state supported Solvay on this project, as part of a wider EU package to boost battery innovation in Europe. This comes under the European Commission’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) programme, through which Solvay has been approved to receive substantial grants over the coming years from participating member states, backed by its own investments, to accelerate EV battery innovation in the European Union.
Furthermore, as a significant player in the European Battery Alliance, Solvay is committed to working across this network to build an ecosystem within the entire value chain by delivering advanced materials and partnering for innovation.