PhD. John Abou-Rjeily is the coordinator of NAIMA and a researcher at TIAMAT we interviewed him to get further details of the main developments of the project.

What is your role as coordinator in an energy project as NAIMA?

In general, a project coordinator has several tasks that include: acting as an intermediary between all parties and the European Commission, being responsible for all communications with the European Commission; administration of the European Commission contribution: allocation of the appropriate EC funds without any unjustified delays; administration of the European Commission contribution: allocation of the appropriate funds without any unjustified delays; day-to-day monitoring of work progress; identification of risks that need to be referred to the Grant Agreement and initiation of mitigation actions. (v) Informing the Commission of proposed dissemination actions; acting as a representative of the project towards external bodies, either scientists, industrial developers or end-users, governmental as well as citizens and ensuring compliance with the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) strategy. Since the safety of the personals working in the NAIMA project is of uttermost importance, as the project coordinator, adapting and mitigating the project in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was an additional role.

How do you feel as a coordinator?

The NAIMA project has provided the opportunity to collaborate with more than 100 people from 15 diverse establishments throughout 9 different European countries. It is a marvellous experience to join forces with elites throughout Europe in a common objective to move to a secure, sustainable, and competitive energy system based on Na-Ion technology.

What is the goal of TIAMAT? (in pictures)

The medium-term strategy of TIAMAT is “Proof Of Concept” with several projects initiated as:

The long term strategy of TIAMAT is industrial partnership with production in France.

How many people work in your company?

A dedicated team of 16 people who share the mission of providing a sustainable and cost-efficient storage technology for high power applications are working at TIAMAT. It is worth mentioning that TIAMAT has a powerful scientific network with instant access to 100+ high-level researchers, led by Prof Jean Marie Tarascon, and state of the art facilities.

What is TIAMAT’s role in the project?

TIAMAT as a cell manufacturer, is the project coordinator of the NAIMA project and will be the leader of Work-Package 1, Work-Package 4, Work-Package 6 and Work-Package 9. The Main role of TIAMAT is Project Coordination, Requirements and Specifications, Cell manufacturer, Battery raw materials, Industry scalability, Management of project, Communication and Exploitation.

How do you produce these cells?

As provided in deliverable 6.1, “industrial scalability,” the cell production is described in 12 steps: mixing, coating, laminating, slitting, tab welding, winding, jellyroll inserting, bottom welding, electroly tefillin, cap welding, sealing and cycling.

Main objective of what you are producing in NAIMA?

Within the framework of the NAIMA project, 3 sodium-ion battery prototypes will be tested in 3 multi-scale business scenarios. These scenarios provide solid evidence about the competitiveness of the technology in 3 real ESS environments (renewable generation, industry and private household) by applying an assessment and monitoring protocol. To that end, the involvement of the end-users (EDF, GESTAMP, GOLDLINE) will play a crucial role as strict “technology auditors” to assess the feasibly of becoming “potential buyers” of sodium-ion batteries in their business ecosystems. Furthermore, the “sustainability approach” will be ensured by the definition of concrete 2nd life potential applications and the fulfilment of a high recycling efficiency rate (>50%wt).

How did NAIMA become to happen?

The NAIMA project is the next step within an ambitious technology development roadmap of the sodium-ion batteries that started with NAIADES project (TRL3-TRL4) and will continue with NAIMA (TRL4-TRL6), NAIMA-EXPANSION (TRL6- TRL8) and mass manufacturing (TRL8-9) stages.

Why sodium Na-ion batteries?

Intrinsically, the Na-ion batteries count on distinguishing advantages compared to Li-ion batteries: Better availability to raw materials in EU or easily accessible (bio-based/bio-polymer hard carbons, lamellar oxides, NVPF polyanionic and salt formulations (additives, solvents, etc.); ++ safety thanks to the capability to store the Na-ion at 0V also protects from safety hazard inherent to the Li-ion system; easy operation and minimum maintenance, with systems of reduced complication (simple BMS, without exhaustive maintenance, high autonomy and low needs for refrigeration) and compatibility with EV applications and capacity of habitation with Lithium under hybrid configuration designs.

NAIMA in the middle of covid pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has implicated time delays on several work packages (2,3, and 4), which are the NAIMA project’s experimental and production pillars. With the absence of raw materials and electrolyte optimization, main advancements in work packages 5, 6, and 7 are delayed. These delays were since a complete lockdown of 2 months took place between M3 and M5. Following this complete lockdown is a part-time opening that has adversely affected the project for an additional four months due to the restrictions attached to working from home (totally or partially). Since the safety of the personals working in the NAIMA project is of uttermost importance and since a force majeure of a virus pandemic has occurred ” COVID-19 “, a prolonging of the project for additional six months was requested.