COBRA: The project that plans the creation of cobalt-free batteries for electric cars

Designated under the name of COBRA (Cobalt-free Batteries for Future Automotive Applications) this project has been created with the purpose of carrying out the development of a novel cobalt-free lithium ion battery technology. This project has the participation of a total of 15 partners (5 of them Spanish), whose efforts are concentrated in the figure of a consortium.

This has made the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission decide to promote the initiative, granting it a financing of 11.8 million euros, enough to materialize its vision.

On the other hand, there is a particularity present in road transport and it is the fact that it generates around 27% of the total CO2 emissions of the entire European Union.

That is why electric mobility has become one of the most viable alternatives to the decarbonisation of transport where, throughout its useful life, an electric car can generate CO2 emissions 50% less compared to the of a mid-size combustion car.

And it is expected that, by 2030, the electric automotive locomotion sector will have an estimated 125 million units in circulation, a fact that is a necessity in increasing battery production to cover a fleet of this size.

For all this, there is no doubt that the use of lithium batteries will continue to predominate in the next decade, which is why it is necessary to dispense with critical raw materials, an action that will only be possible as long as energy is not put at risk. and energy efficiency.

A new cobalt-free approach

Cobalt has been an element with a questionable presence within the supply chain, being, in addition, highly toxic, a situation that has caused the need to consider a cobalt-free battery.

This is how COBRA was born, a project whose working method pursues the optimization of each component that makes up the battery system, all from a holistic approach, that is, each of the parts of the system will be built taking as a starting point setting a common end goal.

Correctly applying this approach, it will be possible to obtain a battery that presents the following characteristics: Cells with an energy density at the cell level greater than 750 Wh / 1, 2000 charge-discharge cycles, cell voltages greater than 4.5 V, capacity fast charge, a reduction of between -40C and 100C in terms of flammability. Along with this, a casing with the capacity to contain a fire above 800C inside the battery, resistance to traction, recyclability of metals by 95%, maximum cost of 90 euros / kWh applied to the battery pack final and best of all, cobalt free.

At a level of technological maturity TRL6, the lithium ion technology proposed by COBRA will be shown and then validated on a test bench designed for real electric cars.

Regarding the Spanish participation in the project, it is made up of the Instituto de Investigacin Energtica de Catalua (IREC), CIDETEC, EURECAT, the global partner of the automotive industry Applus IDIADA and, finally, completing the Spanish representation, is Bax & Company.