Yes, we did it! The HiQ-CARB – Greener Carbons team is very proud to announce the winning of this year’s EIT European Institute of Innovation & Technology Public Award! This award encourages us even more to implement the material developments for greener carbons in HiQ-CARB for a large market and thus make our contribution to more sustainable batteries. This audience award recognizes the achievements of the HiQ-CARB team, whose work is paving the way for sustainable nanomaterials that advance high-performance batteries.

The major innovation of the HiQ-CARB team is high quality functional nanomaterials consisting of low carbon footprint ultrapure acetylene black (AB) and bio-based ultrathin carbon nanotubes (CNT). The new carbon materials have been upscaled, validated and commercialized within the project. Furthermore, a joint product of the HiQ-CARB
material producers, based on the excellent performance identified by combining the materials. This new product will be a carbon blend in the form of a dispersion.
The HiQ-CARB materials are characterized by
1. better quality (e.g. higher purity)
2. better performance (e.g. higher conductivity with less material)
3. better resource efficiency (e.g. CNT with bio-based feedstock and only 8-9 nm diameter)
4. a better expected carbon footprint (e.g. AB produced with lower carbon dioxide emissions), and
5. better processability (e.g. improved dispersibility and handling through densification)
than the state of the art.

In combination, both materials show the best performance by creating a dense interpenetrating network with functional synergy effect of both long-range conductivity through carbon nanotubes and short-range conductivity through acetylene black (special form of carbon black). This also has an economic effect, since less carbon nanotubes, which are more expensive than acetylene black, are needed. When used in the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries, for example, the new carbon blend significantly increases the battery’s cycle life, energy density and power density compared to standard additives.

The key market for the carbons developed by the HiQ-CARB team is the battery market, which places the highest demands on material quality. Battery cell manufacturers are one of the main target customers for the new HiQ-CARB carbons, as they require carbon additives in their high performance electrodes.

However, the application of the high quality carbon additives is not limited to batteries. Another market for beaded acetylene blacks is the high-voltage and extra-high-voltage cable market for underground and submarine power transmission, where high cleanliness is critical for long-term performance and warranties. Other markets for multi-wall carbon nanotubes are electrostatic dissipation (ESD) applications.

By using HiQ-CARB materials for conductive or robust parts, many expensive, heavy and even critical metals can be replaced. Another important aspect is that only small amounts of the functional carbon materials are needed to significantly improve the performance of coatings or composites, such as the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries.

Many thanks to EIT RawMaterials for the nomination – a great honor for us to represent EIT RawMaterials in this competition! And many thanks also to EIT for guiding us through the competition, we learned a lot in the process.

And last but not least, a big thank you to everyone who gave us their vote for the Public Award! It was a great experience to have so many people support us! And thanks to project coordinator Andreas Bittner and the organizing team for the dedicated work during the application process!

Watch the winning pitch on EIT’s youtube channel: EIT Innovation Team HiQCarb Andreas Bittner (

All pictures were taken at the EIT Summit 2024 and the Awarding Ceremony. 
© EIT European Institute of Innovation & Technology, 2024
Photographer: Simon Pugh