The activities of Research and Development are the main assets of the Company and are developed both internally and in collaboration with various research institutions, including the European Southern Observatory (ESO), UTRC (now Raytheon Aerospace), as well as the Genoa Universities Department of Electricity and Department of Industrial Chemistry (for batteries).
The activity that has required the greatest commitment from Phase’s Research and Development Department is the study, still in progress, of a technology for bidirectional charging and discharging the batteries of electric vehicles to the electricity grid.
This development would allow the electric vehicle fleet at national or global level to create a sort of “large widespread battery” and therefore in turn enable electricity grids to use a greater share of renewable energy.
This extremely ambitious project, carried out in collaboration with an important player in the sector, has proved to be extremely challenging, both from a hardware point of view (where, for the first time, both bidirectional Matrix technology – subject to a patent – and new silicon carbide semiconductor devices are used, for which a specific package and a new type of driver had to be developed) as well as the connectivity aspect (as this is intrinsic to the concept of battery diffusion).
The device is therefore equipped with communication capabilities via 5G, WiFi, Bluetooth, as well as Powerlink, and receives vehicle identification both via interface in the charging cable and with a conventional POS. Needless to say, the software and hardware development of this machine has placed a heavy toll on Phase’s resources; however the Company predict that the importance of this development for society (and the planet) will justify this effort.
In collaboration with the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Genoa, Phase coordinates two pure research projects, in particular:
1. The development of new high-performance magnetic substances that do not use rare minerals;
2. Lithium-Ion battery technology, with a triple purpose;
a. To master the construction techniques of the highest density batteries in use today;
b. To create a battery of density at least equal to the existing product, but with a level of engineering more suitable for integration with propulsion systems(e.g. with internal cooling, with neutralising liquid circulation to avoid flame emissions in the event of an accident, etc.) which has resulted in a patent whose industrial use could start very quickly;
c. To develop a technology for the recovery or regeneration of used batteries.
With regard to points b and c, it should be noted that interesting developments have been achieved which could lead to the completion of several patents; in addition, the possibility of creating a new cobalt-free solid/cathode separator technology capable of pushing the energy density of a battery above 400 Wh/kg, well beyond the current capability of 250-270 Wh/kg.
Phase Motion Control carries out research related to the creation of propulsion systems for applications in the emerging zero-emission aeronautical sector. Several initiatives are underway at international level (Sweden, USA, China, UK) for the study of ultra-performing and light engines for aircrafts and drones (both fully electric) and turboprop (hybrid).