Belgian battery material specialist Solvay has opened a new pilot research unit at its plant in La Rochelle in France. The unit will enable Solvay to scale up development of advanced inorganic materials for solid electrolytes, a key component of the next generation of batteries for the automotive industry.The new unit will assess the industrial feasibility of the materials used in the manufacturing process of generation 4 batteries, or so-called “solid state” batteries. Solid state batteries are expected to replace lithium-ion batteries in the coming years, offering increased safety, improved performance and a reduction in the total cost of ownership.Solvay’s leading position in battery technologies makes it a key player in this field, well placed to support its customers in this transition. The pilot unit, which is part of Solvay’s Battery growth platform, will enable the Group to answer customers’ needs by delivering products on a semi-industrial scale. Solvay will also carry out process studies to help prepare for the industrialization phase in the coming years.