Isabel Ferreira, researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the NOVA University Lisbon (FCT NOVA), received a Proof of Concept grant of € 150,000 from the European Research Council (ERC).
This type of funding aims to support the commercial potential of the research results that have been previously funded by the ERC and comes after the European Commission’s grant awarded to the CapTherPV project carried out by the researcher in 2015.
The research aims to develop a new generation of batteries that are harmless to the environment and low cost. Currently, efficient batteries depend primarily on liquid electrolytes (substances that can produce electrically conductive solutions) and lithium. Isabel Ferreira and her team have developed a new solid electrolyte to replace the liquids. It contains cellulose, aluminum and selected ions and is produced in a simple and economic way. These materials are more abundant in nature than lithium, are harmless to the environment and can be recycled through conventional processes. The new batteries are low cost, are accessible to developing countries and less affluent communities, have a longer life span and are lighter and smaller than current lithium-based batteries.
"This funding is specific to study the feasibility of commercialization of the electrolyte developed under the ERC grant received in 2015, since it has yet to be tested to define the aspects of durability, large-scale reproducibility and technical characteristics evaluated by certified institutes," explains Isabel Ferreira. According to the researcher, this funding "dignifies NOVA University Lisbon, contributing to the application of the research carried out at NOVA to commercial products".