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CSEM has inaugurated its Battery Innovation Hub in Neuchâtel


20 February 2023

CSEM has inaugurated its new Battery Innovation Hub (BIH) in Neuchâtel, where interdisciplinary teams are working on the “battery of tomorrow” in close collaboration with local companies.

By 2040, the world will need energy storage solutions equivalent to 50 times the capacity of the current market, according to a joint study by the European Patent Office and the International Energy Agency. This trend is fueling a competition to develop the “battery of tomorrow,” with direct implications for the Swiss economy as a key supplier to the European automotive industry. To adapt to this new electric future, Switzerland must reorient itself and invest in innovative solutions. Batteries will also play an increasing role in the management of electrical networks, which adds a further strategic dimension to the innovation process. CSEM, with the support of the Neuchâtel Cantonal Bank, has therefore extended its research priorities to accompany the Swiss industry in this evolution.

Asia currently produces 90% of the batteries used in the world. “Europe must no longer remain in this state of dependence. In Switzerland, too, we have the skills to be at the forefront of battery development and innovation,” explained Andreas Hutter, Group Leader Energy Systems at CSEM.

On a surface of 400 square meters, the BIH will allow interdisciplinary teams, composed of researchers in chemistry, physics and various branches of engineering, to concentrate their efforts on the key area of batteries. By 2026, more than 50 people will be working in this unique center in Switzerland. This will enable CSEM to cover the entire value chain under one roof by combining the development of new battery chemistries and interfaces with the analysis and intelligent control of batteries.

10 years of success in the sustainable energy sector

CSEM has positioned itself as one of the leading centers for photovoltaic technology thanks to its energy innovation program, which started in 2013. Today, it is expanding its focus to energy storage and batteries with the BIH. CSEM experts are working on direct battery improvement as well as on battery management via electronics, with the aim of creating a new generation of batteries that are more powerful, durable, safer, less expensive and more environmentally friendly. The transfer of knowledge and technology can enable local companies to position themselves in this promising new battery environment.

In Neuchâtel, CSEM hopes that this transfer of technology and knowledge will help open up new avenues for local companies. Swiss companies such as Bühler, Kyburz and Libattion are already using the procedures set up by the CSEM teams to qualify batteries from electric bicycles for reuse in industrial machines. CSEM intends to continue to play a role as a bridge between academia and industry to enable European industry to become more competitive.