1. July 2022 | Press releases:

Battery research at TU Braunschweig: New research building receives funding Circular production of future generations of batteries and fuel cells is being researched at the research airport

The decision was made on 1 July 2022: The Joint Science Conference of the Federal Government and the Länder (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz – GWK) finally approved the funding for the research building “Center for Circular Production of Next Batteries and Fuel Cells” (CPC). At the CPC, 150 scientists will work on conducting research into the circular production of energy storage systems. Recycling and resynthesis processes will be considered from the very beginning of the circular production process, which will enable the competent and sustainable use of valuable raw materials in battery and fuel cell production.

The planned research building with an approved financial volume of 52.8 million euros and an area of around 3,700 square metres is to be constructed in Braunschweig at the research airport in the direct vicinity of the research buildings of the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF) and the Aeronautics Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFL). Construction is expected to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2025.

“The CPC will further expand the internationally significant position of battery and fuel cell research in the Braunschweig region as well as occupy a central position in research in Lower Saxony. The location for the new building was chosen strategically: Due to the spatial proximity to the two existing centres (NFF and NFL), the new test hall of the Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB) and the building to be realised for the Fraunhofer Project Centre ZESS, we will further strengthen our core research area ‘Mobility’,” says Prof. Angela Ittel, President of TU Braunschweig.

“With the CPC research building as the physical image of a ‘circular research factory’ for energy storage, we want to make a significant contribution to the technological sovereignty and realisation of the circular economy of energy storage,” explains Prof. Arno Kwade, head of the BLB and designated spokesperson of the CPC. “For the ecologically sustainable and economic realisation of these circular factories, we will develop and research experimental and digital methods for the investigation of function-preserving material and substance cycles as well as innovative energy-efficient recycling and production processes.”

Recycling raw materials and components

The overarching goal of research in the new building will be to realise the circular production of energy storage devices and converters with integrated recycling, process and manufacturing technologies. Specifically, the focus is on solid-state batteries and membrane-based energy systems. Membrane-based systems include so-called flow batteries, fuel cells and metal-oxygen batteries. Some of these energy storage systems and converters are based on materials that are practically unavailable in Germany. In order to contribute to the technological sovereignty of the German economy and to a sustainable mobility and energy transition, the energy systems are therefore to be recycled or remanufactured at the end of their use and new active materials and components for the energy systems are to be produced from the secondary raw materials and components obtained. The basis for this is an in-depth diagnosis, simulation and prognosis of the matter and material cycles.

What factories of the future might look like

In a broader sense, research is also being conducted on the ecologically sustainable and simultaneously economical design of factories that operate in a circular manner and have a high degree of adaptability for future adjustments. These factories are oriented towards closed-loop supply chains, i.e. value chains that additionally integrate the return of a product after use for recycling or disposal as a process.

Particular attention will be paid to the customised design of energy storage devices for circularity, so that more efficient recycling can be achieved, impurities can be reduced during re-synthesis and as few new starting materials as possible need to be applied. For this research, interdisciplinary cooperation between recycling, process, manufacturing and electrical engineering, logistics, chemistry and physics is planned in one building.

The partner for the research at the CPC is the Clausthal University of Technology. It supports the project in the fields of hydrometallurgy, technical polymer chemistry and electrochemical process engineering with two research teams that will be active at the CPC.


Site plan: The CPC research building is to be built at the Braunschweig Research Airport in the immediate vicinity of the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF) and the BatteryLab Factory test hall. Picture credits: GB3/TU Braunschweig

Symbolic image of battery research: extrusion of solid-state electrodes in the laboratory. Photo credit: Marisol Glasserman/TU Braunschweig