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New German battery partner: Tesla wants to develop glass separators with Uni Bayreuth

This January, Tesla extended the cooperation with its most important battery research partner, a group from the Canadian Dalhousie University under the direction of the experienced specialist Jeff Dahn, by five years; At the same time, the team around the promising German scientist Michael Metzger was strengthened in a management position. But Tesla also wants to do battery research in Germany itself and is expected to be funded with many millions of euros as part of the EU-wide Eubatin project. And a battery cooperation with a German university is even supposed to begin this March.

Safe batteries with glass separators

As a new joint project with industry, the University of Bayreuth presented the “Glass separators for lithium-ion batteries” project on Thursday. It is coordinated by the KeyLab Glass Technology at the Chair of Ceramic Materials at the university. In addition to another chair, four companies are named as participants: Füller Glastechnologie, Virtrulan Glass Textile, Varta Microbattery and Tesla, in this case with the addition “Germany”, i.e. the German subsidiary based in Munich.

The operational safety of lithium-ion batteries depends crucially on the separators used to separate the electrodes, the university explains in its communication. The aim of the project is therefore to develop novel separators made of glass. Work on it will begin at the beginning of March and will be funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation for three years. The glass separators should withstand temperatures of at least 500 degrees and also slow down the aging of battery cells.

Tesla wants German battery factory

According to the project leader, Professor Thorsten Gerdes from the University of Bayreuth, one of the challenges is to make the glass thinner than 20 micrometers, as is necessary to maintain other advantages. The development work seems to be done by the university and its partners from the glass industry, and the results are then to be tested in laboratories at Tesla and Varta.

Last year, Tesla announced that it would start its own battery cell production on a large scale and wants to set up its first full system for this at its German gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin. Probably in connection with this, the company applied for funding as part of a major EU project for a competitive battery industry. The German share of this is 2.9 billion euros, but is shared between Tesla and 41 other companies. Concrete projects from it and partners for them are not yet known.

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