Description of legal entity the legal entity and its main tasks

VARTA Micro Innovation GmbH (VMI), with registered office in Graz (AUT), was founded as a joint venture between the battery manufacturer VARTA Microbattery (Ellwangen, DE) and Graz University of Technology (AUT). The business purpose of VARTA Micro Innovation GmbH is R&D is in the area of electro-chemical energy storage systems. Within VARTA Micro Innovation, both the industrial fabrication know how from VARTA Microbattery and the basic research know how from Graz University of Technology for various electro-chemical energy storage systems are merged together. This unique configuration enables VARTA Micro Innovation to perform a fast transfer of newly developed technologies into production state. The R&D activities of VMI are divided in three main research areas:

  • Lithium Power - Improvement of specific energy (Wh∙kg-1) and energy density (Wh∙l-1)
  • Heat Power – Enlargement of the temperature operation range
  • Rapid Power – Improvement of the rate capability
VARTA Micro Innovation is highly experienced in research, reverse engineering and ordered analysis in the area of lifetime prediction and reliability of Li-ion Batteries for different application fields (e.g. EV, storage etc.). VARTA Micro Innovation has also many years of experience in working with high capacity negative electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries. This work includes on the one hand basic research of high capacity electrode materials as well as electrode fabrication and on the other hand construction of batteries with these materials at prototype level.

Tasks and justification in INSTABAT

Based on the distinguished Know-how in the field of retro engineering, electrode fabrication and testing of electro-chemical energy sources, the main contributions of VMI are located in WP1, WP5 and WP6.

  • WP1: Together with the other partners, VMI will elaborate the requirements, challenges and strategies to implement sensors into the cells.
  • WP2 and WP5: For the test of the sensors individually and for the proof of concept of the multi-sensor platform, the required cell components like electrodes and separator will be developed or made available.
  • WP6: An industrialisation study should identify the gaps between the proof of concept of the multi-sensor platform and a product ready for commercialisation. The experience of VMI in material and cell development should help to understand and overcome the current limitations for commercialisation in this field. Close cooperation and constant feedback will be given to the project partners.
  • Minor contributions in other WPs: Contribution on dissemination and communication, as well as on the management activities.

CV of the persons

Dr. Martin Schmuck

Varta, 8010 Graz, Austria

Dr. Martin Schmuck studied industrial chemistry and received his PhD from Graz University of Technology, Austria. In 2007, he became scientific assistant at the Graz University of Technology and since 2010, he is employed as project manager at VARTA Micro Innovation GmbH. His expertise includes different lithium battery systems, electrode material development and characterisation.

Dr. Stefan Koller

Varta, 8010 Graz, Austria

Dr. Stefan Koller studied industrial chemistry and received his doctor degree at Graz University of Technology. In 2007, he became Scientific Assistant at the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials and leader of the lithium-ion battery research group of the institute in 2008. Since 2009, he is CEO of VARTA Micro Innovation GmbH. He is author and co-author of numerous publications and patents.

LIST of relevant publications

  • Fuchsbichler B., Stangl C., Kren H., Uhlig F., Koller S., “High capacity graphite–silicon composite anode material for lithium-ion batteries” Journal of Power Sources, 196 (2011), 2889-2892
  • Kren H., Droisner A., Koller S., “Flexible Battery Electrodes and the Production Thereof" U.S. Patent WO/2012/022693, 2012
  • Kren H., Koller S., Droisner A., “Lithium-ion Cell Having Improved Aging Behaviour" U.S. Patent WO/2012/065909, 2012
  • Scharfegger M., Toulis S., Kren H., Koller S., “Active Electro-chemical material and production of same" WO2015022101 (A1), 2015
  • Scharfegger M., Kren H., Koller S., “Structurally stable active material for battery electrodes" WO2013045327 (A1), 2013

List of relevant previous projects

  • GRENADA “GRaphenE for NAnoscaleD Applications” (FP7-NMP-2009-Small-3, project number: 246073)
  • BACCARA “Battery and superCapacitor Characterisation and testing” (FP7-ENERGY-2013-1, project number: 608491)
  • MagIC “Magnesium Ion Cell” (regional funding, project number: 840457)
  • SINTBAT “SIlicon based materials and New processing Technologies for improved lithium-ion BATteries” (H2020-NMP-2015, project number 685716)
  • Graphene “Graphene-Based Revolutions in ICT And Beyond” (Flagship Graphene, project number: 604391)
  • MaLiSu “Nanomaterials for future generation lithium sulfur batteries” (Electromobility ERA-Net Plus Initiative, project number: 832431)
  • PLIANT “Process Line Implementation for Applied Surface Nanotechnologies” (FP-7NMP-2012-LARGE-6, project number: 309530)

Description of any significant infrastructure

VMI is well equipped for R&D on electro-chemical energy devices ranging from potentiostats and cycling machines for electro-chemical investigations, to various methods for structural and morphological investigations like X-ray diffratometry and electron microscopy. Furthermore, on demand VMI can access the R&D facilities of the faculty for industrial chemistry at Graz University of Technology, as well as prototype cell production pilot lines at Varta Microbattery A list of equipment is shown below:

  • Gloveboxes
  • Maccor (battery tester), Series 4000, 250 channels, up to 400A and 50V.
  • Potentiostatic devices, 60 channels
  • Electro-chemical impedance spectroscopy device, 6 channels
  • X-Ray diffractometer (XRD), Bruker DaVinci D8 Advance
  • Spectroscopic equipment: SEM – Tescan Vega-3 equipped with Oxford EDX detector; IR – Perkin Elmer Frontier; GC-MS – Agilent Technologies
  • Equipment for electrode-, electrolyte- and battery-cell preparation and various battery material synthesis