PARIS – European chipmaker STMicroelectronics NV and the French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA) have concluded a collaboration agreement on the development of miniaturized energy sources solutions. Two joint laboratories will be established in Tours and in Grenoble, France, so as to conduct advanced research in solid-state microbatteries and microfuel cells for clean energy generation.
ST, which has a manufacturing facility in Tours, and CEA Liten (Laboratory of Innovation for New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials), a Grenoble-based research laboratory, said they would join efforts on a four-year program to work on miniaturized technologies for energy solutions with a particular emphasis on powering mobile phones, laptop computers and other portable electronic products. More than fifty researchers, distributed evenly between the two laboratories, will be involved in the program.
Both parties noted that they would work on various research projects.
Among other examples, they cited microfuel cells specifically designed to power mobile phones using fuel that can be topped up at any time, thin-film microbatteries for use in applications such as “smart labels”, due to replace existing barcode technology, and radiofrequency ID tags, as well as the development of new energy scavenging technologies. Thin, solid state microbatteries are also likely to bring new perspectives in areas such as medical implants where replacing or recharging conventional batteries is difficult or impossible, ST and CEA Liten further explained.
“The proliferation of portable devices has created a huge demand for energy sources such as rechargeable batteries but existing solutions still leave room for improvements in terms of performance, operating life and environmental impact," declared Carmelo Papa, executive vice-president and general manager of ST’s Industrial and Multisegment Sector. "We believe that the complementary skills of ST and CEA Liten will lead to the development and industrialization of cost-effective new technologies that will meet these challenges.”
Under the terms of the agreement, ST and CEA Liten agreed that they would attempt to further strengthen collaboration with major research institutes.