The R&D on battery technology – and everything related to it – is running at full speed and requires qualified employees, not only in research centres and knowledge institutions, but also in the growing industry. That is why VITO/EnergyVille is developing and organising specially tailored courses and training sessions (in collaboration with EIT InnoEnergy), which are freely accessible via an online platform and also physically accessible in the VITO/EnergyVille battery labs.

The courses will be offered on the learning platform of InnoEnergy, part of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. The online training on offer forms part of the assignment of the European Battery Alliance (EBA), an initiative of the European Commission to boost the development and research of storage technologies in Europe.

Very complementary

VITO/EnergyVille closely follows the activities within the EBA (which has existed since autumn 2017). In addition to stimulating industrial development, the initiative also has an educational mission. "From VITO/EnergyVille, we are perfectly placed to help shape and further develop this training assignment", explains Jeroen Büscher of VITO/EnergyVille. "Due to our organisational structure, we are very complementary – especially with regard to electrical storage: whilst the University of Hasselt and imec primarily focus on new battery materials, VITO works from cell to package level (testing, modelling and management systems of batteries) and the Catholic University of Leuven [KU Leuven] works on the integration of the various components into a storage system. We are therefore able to provide both introductory know-how and technical depth from various angles."

Who is the target audience? Büscher explains: "The target audience is diverse. On the one hand, there are the Master's students and PhD students who specifically work around energy-related subjects and electrical storage. They are therefore the researchers of tomorrow, who can (most importantly) start working for us. On the other hand, we are seeing that the industry is in the process of making the switch to sustainable energy systems and electrification. Current employees can also benefit from our training courses. This allows people to develop an advantage that will benefit them in their future careers. In short, you could say that our main aim is to build up expertise."

Hands-on training sessions

The online courses will cover all aspects of battery technology, divided into separate modules, each consisting of up to five lessons. One lesson would last no longer than seven minutes. When a student is ready, he/she can opt to undertake a practice-based follow-up course. "This then includes intensive hands-on training sessions, which make working with battery tests or management systems (VITO's speciality) very tangible", explains Büscher.

This therefore concerns very specific knowledge and skills, especially in the follow-up course. "We think it is important that, through us, the industry can offer this, including at European level. Not only will it benefit people, but also companies in the battery sector. After all, they do not have to invest as much in their own training", explains Büscher.