A Laboratory for the Battery of the Future Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB) opened
The enhancement of electromobility and the turn in energy politics towards renewable energy require efficient, low cost and environmentally friendly battery cells and a detailed knowledge of the related manufacturing processes. Research on future battery cells and their production is the aim of the Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB) within the TU Braunschweig. The BLB opened its doors on the 24th June 2015 and aims at being the most flexible research institution for battery production in Germany.
The particular aim of the BLB researchers is the development of new manufacturing processes for modern lithium-ion battery cells as well as for new battery generations such as solid-state batteries or lithium-sulphur batteries.
Four million euros have been invested in the BLB by means of an ERDF-project (European Regional Development Fund) of the state of Lower Saxony and own funds of the Technische Universität Braunschweig. Further five million euros have been raised by the TU Braunschweig on its own and have been used by means of project funding from the national government for restoring the building and for financing the facilities and machines.
Organisationally, the BLB is incorporated in the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (Niedersächsisches Forschungszentrum Fahrzeugtechnik – NFF) and represents the entire, flexible process chain on modern manufacturing facilities for lithium-ion battery cells. The BLB does not solely investigate the battery cell production, but the entire life cycle of a battery:
- starting from the material production and -conditioning
- over the electrode-, cell-, module- and system development and production
- up to the integration and use in vehicles,
- the recycling of the battery systems and
- the return of the recycled materials into the material cycle.
The BLB has already been very successful even before moving to the new laboratory rooms. “Over the last couple of years, BLB researchers have played an active part in numerous publicly funded projects. In total, funds of more than 10 million euros will be invested in projects of the BLB by the end of 2015”, states Prof. Arno Kwade, the BLB spokesman.
“Since 2008 the BLB incorporates the competence in battery technology of seven institutes in the field process- and production technology, electrical engineering, engineering design or chemistry in one single research institution“, explains Prof. Jürgen Hesselbach, president of the Technische Universität Braunschweig. “In cooperation with the National Metrology Institute of Germany (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt – PTB) our institutes do research to find solutions for the battery production of the future. Merging those competences from the fields of chemistry, process technology, production technology, engineering design, electrical engineering and metrology in this wide range is unique in Germany.”
“The TU Braunschweig bundles research potentials most effectively. With the Battery LabFactory the science region clearly marks the development towards future-oriented research“, says Gabriele Heinen-Kljajić, Minister for Science and Culture in Lower Saxony. “There is an urgent need for research in the fields electromobility and batteries. The efforts of the Battery LabFactory aim at meeting our needs for mobility in a sustainable manner, so that our mobility does not develop at the expense of environment.”
Cell manufacturing has a key function in the value adding chain of e-mobility – the battery makes up about 80 percent of the costs of the drive train. It is the aim of the Federal Government to establish a large-scale production of new battery cells in Germany. Besides electromobility, batteries will also play an important role in the field of stationary energy storage.
The BLB is, amongst others, one of the main pillars in the existing research associations GEENI and FABENO. GEENI, the Graduate programme for Energy Storage and Electromobility Lower Saxony, addresses the question of how mobility can be ensured without the use of fossil fuels. FABENO is the acronym for the Forschungsallianz Batterie & Elektrochemie Norddeutschland e.V. (Research Association Battery & Electrochemistry North Germany). The association wants to contribute substantially to the aim of the National Electromobility Development Plan of the Federal Government. Germany is supposed to become the lead supplier and the leading market for electromobility and to take the leading role in science as well as in the automotive and supplier industry in order to stand its ground in international competition.
Facts and figures concerning the BLB
- Start of construction (ground breaking): Spring 2014
- Investments: In total about nine million euros,
thereof ERDF-project of the state of Lower Saxony: four million euros as well as own funds and other third-party funds
- Building owner and investor: TU Braunschweig
- Operator of the research institution: 7 institutes of the TU Braunschweig and the National Metrology Institute of Germany
- Main useable area: about 900 square meters
- Drying room: about 160 square meters
- Workplaces for 52 employees