KIT conducts research in four new battery competence clusters

Associations for agile production, recycling, usage concepts and quality assurance - BMBF funds a total of 100 million euros

Battery research of the future: SmartBatteryMaker stack module. (Photo: wbk, KIT)

Battery research of the future: SmartBatteryMaker stack module. (Photo: wbk, KIT)

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) wants to advance battery research in Germany with four new competence clusters. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is involved in all four clusters, two of them as coordinators: The focus of “Intelligent Battery Cell Production (InZePro)” is on flexible production systems. "Analytics / Quality Assurance (AQua)" is about improving the performance and service life of batteries. The researchers involved are now making full proposals for funding in the clusters.

"Powerful and safe battery technologies are a basic requirement for us to be able to create the energy transition and shape our mobility sustainably," says KIT President Professor Holger Hanselka. “The clusters address the very central aspects - agile production systems, recycling, usage concepts and quality assurance. We are very much looking forward to pooling our expertise with all four clusters and to advancing battery research. ”

Competence cluster for intelligent battery cell production (InZePro)

In the focus of the Competence Cluster Intelligent Battery Cell Production (InZePro)stand for an agile and flexible system technology - by means of which battery cells can be manufactured flexibly and in a quantity-adapted manner -, the digitalization of individual systems and the entire production system as well as virtual production systems and AI in production. “The aim is to manufacture a wide range of battery cells in small to large quantities for flexible, automated and intelligent production that is optimized by artificial intelligence. In this way, we want to ensure that manufacturing companies, for example in the automotive industry, increase their productivity even with fluctuating orders and high product variability, ”explains Professor Jürgen Fleischer, head of the wbk Institute for Production Technology, who is part of the InZePro coordination team for KIT.

Competence Cluster Analytics / Quality Assurance (AQua)

The aim of the AQua cluster is to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries while ensuring a long service life. As a basis for quality assurance in production, the scientists develop analysis methods and standards that do justice to the complex processes in the battery. "In AQua we want to develop a comprehensive and cross-process understanding of how the interplay of materials, manufacturing steps and electrochemical features affects the structures and properties of the battery," says Professor Helmut Ehrenberg from KIT, who is on the coordination team. This cluster is expected to receive around 20 million euros in funding.

Strengthen battery research in Germany

KIT is in the coordination team for the two clusters InZePro and AQua. KIT researchers are also involved in the two other clusters, recycling / green battery (greenBatt) and battery usage concepts (Batt usage). The new clusters are scheduled to start in October 2020. In addition, KIT is involved in the FestBatt competence cluster for the development of solid-state batteries, which has been running since 2018, and in ProZell for battery cell production since 2016.

The clusters tie in with the successful battery research at KIT, such as that which runs on the platform CELEST founded with the University of Ulm and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).

The competence clusters are part of the umbrella concept "Battery Research Factory" and are intended to help strengthen battery research in Germany along the entire value chain. The BMBF is investing a further 100 million euros in battery research at universities and non-university research institutions.

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