Behind the HELENA Project #2 | Interviewing Dr. Artur Tron (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology)

Europe´s commitment to achieving leadership and guiding the global Energy Transition is total. A clear example of this is its support for the many initiatives across the continent that seek to electrify some of the most polluting industries, such as transportation. Through this series of contents, we intend to know the perspective of the researchers involved in the HELENA Project regarding the virtues of the halide solid-state batteries developed.

26 April 2023

The AIT Austrian Institute of Technolgy is Austria´s largest research & technology organization. Among the European research institutes, AIT is a specialist in the key infrastructure issues of the future. As an Ingenious Partner to industry and public institutions, AIT is already researching and developing the technologies, methods and tools of tomorrow - paving the way for the innovations of the day after tomorrow.

What steps have to be taken into account when testing batteries?

Although the solid-state halide battery technology is very promising, several points need to be investigated for performance, cycling, safety and recycling. In HELENA characterization and testing will be performed from material over component to cell level, characterizing the materials’ and components’ electrochemical performance, and evaluating the prototype cells’ electrical performance and safety in normal operation and failure. In order to limit ageing and improve the cyclability, the mechanical stability of the components and the mechanical stress applied to the of solid-state halide battery during operation are also important parameters to be studied. Furthermore, post-mortem analysis shall reveal degradation processes of the solid electrolyte, cathode and anode materials, and of the cell to identify ageing mechanisms and optimize the cell for best performance. In HELENA, cell testing is performed for EVs and aircraft applications, bringing together the segment-specific requirements.


Why are halide batteries safer than other technologies?

One of the requirements of any new battery technology, particularly a solid-state battery system, for road and air transport is the safety concept. As the energy density of the battery increases, so do potential safety issues, such as heat generation due to rapid degradation processes, emission of volatile, flammable, or toxic components of the battery. Among the various battery systems, halide-based solid-state batteries are inherently safer than conventional lithium-ion and other types of solid-state battery systems, such as polymer-based or sulfide-based, due to the non-toxic and non-flammable chemical components of halide-based materials and the lack of risk of toxic gas release  when exposed to moisture, unlike sulfide-based solid electrolytes that release H2S. In addition, halide solid electrolytes in contact with lithium metal anodes can have significant advantages over sulfide electrolytes due to interfacial stabilization that can prevent the formation of lithium dendrites thus reducing safety concern about internal short circuits.


Within the HELENA Project, AIT supports the lab scale preparation of battery components and cell assembly with the development of catholyte formulation and processing, electrochemical characterization of individual battery components and assembly of 1Ah prototype pouch cell format.

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