The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), founded in 2000, is one of the leading research centres in Greece and listed among the TOP-20 E.U. research institutions with the highest participation in competitive research grants. It is a legal entity governed by private law with non-profit status, supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI) of the Greek Ministry of Development and Investments. CERTH has significant scientific and technological achievements in Energy, Environment, Industry, Mechatronics, Information & Communication, Transportation & Sustainable Mobility, Health, Agro-biotechnology, Smart farming, Safety & Security, and several cross-disciplinary scientific areas. CERTH has participated successfully in more than 1.200 competitive research projects  (with a total budget exceeding 450 M€ and involving more than 1.100 international partner organisations) financed by the European Union (E.U.), leading industries from the USA, Japan and Europe and the Greek Government. CERTH’s research results (more than 350 publications/year) have a significant scientific impact.

Today CERTH includes five research institutes with diverse fields of research. The Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute (CPERI) is involved in the SPIDER project. CPERI conducts high calibre basic and applied research to develop novel technologies and products and pursue scientific and technological excellence in selected advanced areas such as Energy, Environment, Materials and Process Technologies in response to European and global industry needs. One of CPERI’s research groups is focused on electrochemical storage materials. The group takes advantage of advanced materials synthesis technologies available at CPERI for cell active materials development, as well as an extensive inventory of sophisticated physicochemical characterisation technologies.

Main contact: Dimitrios Zarvalis, CERTH

Dimitrios Zarvalis is a Chemical Engineer (Dipl. Chemical Engineering -Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and has a Master of Business Administration MBA from the U.K.). He has more than 20 years of professional engineering experience. As a research engineer at CPERI/CERTH, his work initially involved research on particle emissions from internal combustion engines for green mobility-related projects. During the last seven years, his research focused on developing and characterising materials for electrochemical storage applications, mainly for the automotive sector. He has participated in numerous national and E.U. research projects (among others, in eCAIMAN, TEESMAT, SPIDER and DEFACTO). He co-authored more than 30 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and conference proceedings.

Why have you chosen to get involved as WP6 leader?

WP6 inclines to a knowledge-based approach to elucidate the SPIDER materials development facilitating speedy progress towards the progress targets. It involves advanced materials and interfaces characterisation, electrical and abusive tests and modelling with the target to provide feedback for the synthesis of SPIDER materials and the subsequent cell manufacturing. CERTH’s team has established expertise in materials characterisation with advanced techniques such as RAMAN/FTIR analysis and 3D x-ray Microtomography. Moreover, the team has extended experience in project and work package management. Exploiting characterisation studies in combination with electrochemical testing to explain cell performance and ageing and to formulate optimised models is a challenging task that our team was fascinated to undertake. 

What do you take out from this WP?

So far, in WP6, we have characterised the first generations of the SPIDER cells. Based on cells cycling electrochemical tests and post mortem analysis, we successfully analysed electrode surface and electrolyte decomposition products after the electrochemical reaction. We have used several techniques such as RAMAN/FTIR, SEM/EDS and SEM/FIB, XRD, XRF, XPS depth profiling and Microtomography. This work also helped formulate and implement the SPIDER electrochemical-thermal model to predict capacity decay. The organisation of cell samples handling, testing and analysis tasks between the partners is quite challenging. In addition, the limitations in the available samples in such research projects are also challenging. However, mobilising such a variety of techniques and testing/analysis capacity under the same cause is rewarding and may lead to exciting technical results and high-quality scientific publications. 

What are your expectations from the SPIDER project?

We hope that by the end of the project, we will be able to analyse the performance of all the generations of SPIDER cells and achieve the maximum concerning the project targets relevant to cyclic stability and energy density. Also, we should describe the ageing mechanisms and provide proof of adequate safety of the SPIDER technology. The SPIDER physics-based comprehensive model with continuous feedback from testing will make us capable of defining the optimum cell operating strategy. So by the end of the project, we should be able to materialise a valuable characterisation and testing methodology that, together with the developed simulation models, will boost the Li-ion cell technology.