Major Funding Boost for Battery Research
Battery Research Cluster headed by RWTH to receive funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
As part of its overarching Battery Research Factory strategy, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding four additional battery competence clusters with a total of 100 million euros. The aim of the ministry is to continually expand battery research in Germany and promote its translation into industrial application. RWTH Aachen University is involved in three of the new clusters.
The new clusters are based on the existing structures of the overarching concept, which also includes the Research Fab Battery Cells in Münster, FFB for short. Drawing on the insights gained in the competence clusters, the FFB conducts research into industrial production of battery cells and implements the results obtained in collaboration with industry.
Three competence clusters on the topics of battery cell production (Prozell), solid-state batteries (FestBatt), and battery materials (ExcellBattMat) have already been launched. The four new clusters to be established will focus on various battery innovations.
The Intelligent Battery Cell Production cluster, InZePro, receiving funding in the amount of 30 million euros, aims to make cell production more efficient and more flexible. This is to be achieved by holistic optimization of production systems using industry 4.0 solutions. Key research areas include innovative agile plant technology, digitalization, artificial intelligence in production, and virtual production systems. Professor Achim Kampker from the Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components will coordinate the project at RWTH. Cluster partners are the Technical University of Munich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität Braunschweig.
The Recycling/Green Battery competence cluster, greenBatt for short, also receives about 30 million euros for its activities. RWTH Professor Bernd Friedrich from the Institute of Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling IME, in collaboration with researchers from the Technische Universität Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems, is investigating how best to design the different stages of the battery life cycle. Further aims include developing and enhancing efficient recycling technologies; furthermore, the cluster seeks to improve the integration of recovered materials in battery cell production.
RWTH is also involved in the “Battery Utilization concepts” competence cluster, "Battnutzung" for short. The aim is to gain an in-death understanding of battery states and behaviors in order to find out whether second-life batteries are viable and what applications they are suitable for. Spokesperson for the cluster will be Professor Dirk-Uwe Sauer from the RWTH Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives. Partners in the cluster are the Technical University of Munich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology
The Analytics/Quality Management cluster (AQua) will receive 20 million euros in funding for its endeavors continually to improve the performance, durability, and safety of batteries. Involved in the cluster are the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the Technical University of Munich.