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The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) is leading a pioneering effort to revolutionize electric aviation with its “Highspin” project. Collaborating with twelve partners across Europe, AIT aims to develop cobalt-free, easily recyclable batteries that offer a significantly higher energy density than current lithium-ion options.

Current lithium-ion batteries, due to their weight, have limited use in aviation to small-scale test aircraft. AIT’s goal is to achieve an energy density of 390 watt hours per kilogram (Wh/kg), doubling the efficiency of existing batteries. This breakthrough could extend flight distances or reduce battery size and weight while maintaining performance.

The “Highspin” battery employs silicon-graphite anodes, lithium nickel manganese oxide cathodes, and a liquid electrolyte, utilizing proven manufacturing processes for cost-effective production. AIT also emphasizes sustainable battery lifecycle management, focusing on efficient recycling methods to recover valuable raw materials like lithium and nickel.

Additionally, AIT is advancing aviation sustainability through the Solifly project, developing multifunctional aircraft components that integrate electrical energy storage to enhance overall efficiency.

With aviation aiming for climate neutrality by 2050, AIT’s innovations in battery technology and aircraft efficiency are crucial steps towards achieving this ambitious environmental goal.