The accelerated rise of new technologies, changing consumer preferences and emerging mobility services is currently drastically transforming the automotive industry. Today, we are at an exciting and significant moment of change, driven by the race to deliver sustainable digital mobility, also considering human and environmental factors. The transition towards a sustainable and green mobility is definitely initiated and there is no way back. The number of electrical cars in our streets is increasing, car companies are massively shifting towards battery cell chemistries with high storage capacity and fast (dis)charging capabilities, battery safety is increased and recently the European Commission has decided to ban sales of new fossil fuel based cars from 2035 onwards.
The MOBI research centre of the VUB takes a leading role in research in the field of electomobility (e-mobility) and is developing the next generation technologies and products with forefront market players in over 20 EC funded projects that recently started or will start very soon.
MOBI, coordinated by Prof. Joeri Van Mierlo, acts as a one-stop-shop covering the full value chain in e-mobility research with activities on:
Battery development and battery related innovations as part of MOBI’s Battery Innovation Centre headed by Prof. Maitane Berecibar: The next generation battery technologies such as solid-statefor longer duration (EU funded project AM4BAT) , with incorporated self-healing properties (EU funded project BAT4EVER) which are environmentally friendly by reducing Cobalt’s usage (EU funded project CoFBAT); The integration of intelligence and sensing in the battery cell (EU funded project SPARTACUS) and its combination with self-healing properties (EU funded project PHOENIX); The digitalisation and optimalisation of battery cell manufacturing (EU funded project BATMACHINE), and improvement of the battery performance through the use of Digital Twins (EU funded project THOR); The development of advanced tailor-made battery management systems based on machine learning, considering a combination of State-of-X functions and physical based modeling (lifetime, health, safety, ..) (EU funded project NEMO) as well as Battery Thermal Management Systems and cooling systems enabling fast charging (EU funded project SELFIE); The capability of full pack development, implementation, and demonstration in real-life applications such as mobility, grid, robot, drone and second life (INNOVIRIS funded projects CLEVER, REASSURE). All these projects are good for a total budget of 8 million euros for MOBI-VUB.
All these research actions thanks to the state-of-the-art battery test lab of the Battery Innovation Centre counting with: 300 battery test channels, 12 climate chambers and 3 climate rooms, 42 impedance spectroscopy channels, thermal imaging equipment, a thermal management platform and a dSpace, containing several test stations allowing to test cells as well as battery modules. In addition, BIC counts with a recently built dry room, in situ XRD and an argonne globe box.
The EPOWERS Research Group, headed by Prof. Omar Hegazy, supports their vision of creating sustainable, emission-free, affordable, efficient and innovative technology to enable tomorrow’s smart mobility, transport and energy solutions for everyone in the world through the development of next generation power electronics, which act as the interface between battery and connected systems for communication, data and signal transmission and conversion and control actions. EPOWERS develops these next generation power electronics using Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology to allow fast charging and communication in the most optimal and safe way. Power electronics, digital platforms and charging infrastructure are currently under development for electric cars (EU funded projects OPEVA, ECOMOBILITY), for heavy duty vehicles systems (EU funded projects NextETRUCK, ZEFES, EBRT2030), for maritime applications (EU funded project NEMOSHIP) and for grid optimization systems/stationary applications (EU funded project SiC4GRID). These projects are recently granted in 2022.
EPOWERS’ vision is brought further to fruition through the research of advanced battery management systems (BMS) to incorporate intelligence and control over the battery system to optimize performance, lifetime, and safety with EU funded project NEXTBMS. All these projects are good for a total budget of 7,8 million euros for MOBI-VUB.
MOBI cooperates with renown European Universities and research centres, manufacturing plants, automotive and supply chain companies, engineering companies and charging system providers to bring its innovative ideas to the market at the appropriate TRL level and through existing and innovative business models.
Prof. Dr. ir. Joeri Van Mierlo leads the MOBI – Electromobility Research Centre. Joeri Van Mierlo is a key player in the Electromobility scene. He is expert in the field of Electric and Hybrid vehicles, as well as to the environmental and economical comparison of vehicles with different drive trains and fuels. Prof. Van Mierlo was Vice-president of the European Electric Vehicle Association, AVERE and he is member of the Core Lab Committee of Flanders Make.
Since 2019, prof Berecibar is the Head of the Battery Innovation Center in the MOBI research group at VUB. Her expertise includes emerging battery technologies, battery manufacturing, self-healing properties, sensor integration, modeling activities, smart SoX estimations, cooling system development, management strategies (thermal and electrical), recycling, second life and safety. She is an official member of the IEC standardization body in TC-69 and TC-21 related to the battery topic or charging infrastructure.
Prof. Omar Hegazy is the head of EPOWERS- Efficient Power Electronics, Powertrain and Energy Solutions- Research Group. Prof. Hegazy is also a Senior IEEE member and a member of EGVIA, EARPA, Inside, EPE, SAE and IEC standards. His fields of interest include power electronics, electrical machines, electric and (plug-in) hybrid electric vehicles, Digital Twin, charging infrastructure, power/energy management strategies, Fuel Cell powertrains, battery management systems, V2X systems, optimization techniques and Smart DC grids.
Niamh Byl - Communications assistant
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