Pilot Plant for Circular Battery Production CircularLab of the Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB) opened at the Research Airport
- A new research facility on Hermann-Blenk-Straße was officially opened on 6 November
- Research is being carried out into how lithium-ion batteries can be recycled and how a closed-loop production process can be implemented
- The CircularLab is a facility of the Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB), a research centre of Technische Universität Braunschweig
The nationwide expansion of electromobility and the energy transition require new, powerful, cost-effective and environmentally friendly battery cells. For lithium-ion batteries to be sustainable, production waste and end-of-life batteries must be recycled and the materials must be kept in a closed material cycle. How this can be achieved technically and how new cells can be produced from these materials is the aim of the research in the CircularLab.
BLB spokesperson Prof. Arno Kwade welcomed all guests from politics, research and industry to the opening of the new BLB research building in Braunschweig. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
View of the new "CircularLab" research facility at Braunschweig Research Airport. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
Lower Saxony's Science Minister Falko Mohrs at the official opening of the CircularLab in Braunschweig. He emphasised the importance of battery research for sustainability and, above all, for the economy in the region. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
At the opening of the CircularLab at Braunschweig Research Airport on 6 November 2023: Braunschweig's Lord Mayor Dr. Thorsten Kornblum also addressed the guests. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
TU Vice-President Prof. Peter Hecker emphasises the relevance of battery research in his welcoming address. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
Prof. Peter Hecker, Vice President for Research and Early Career Scientists at TU Braunschweig. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
Dr. Stefan Jung, Head of Battery Research and Battery Technology at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, thanked everyone involved in setting up battery research in the new CircularLab in Braunschweig. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
Prof. Arno Kwade ( BLB spokesperson, left) presents the new test hall of the Battery Labfactory Braunschweig to Lower Saxony's Science Minister Falko Mohrs - together with TU Vice President Prof. Peter Hecker and BLB Board Member Prof. Thomas Spengler. Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
BLB spokesperson Prof. Arno Kwade on a tour of the new research building, which will be used to investigate how batteries can be produced and recycled according to the closed-loop principle (Braunschweig, 6 November 2023). Photo credit: Christian Bierwagen/TU Braunschweig
The researchers at the BLB CircularLab aim to achieve a closed cycle of battery materials, thereby ensuring sustainability and independence from critical raw materials. The main objectives are resource-conserving electrode and cell production and efficient recycling. To this end, existing production processes for electrode manufacture, such as drying technologies, are being investigated and optimised on a pilot, i.e. industrial, scale.
With its now three research facilities, ProductionLab, CircularLab and DiagnosisLab, the BLB research centre covers a large part of the life cycle and circular production of lithium-ion batteries, including characterisation in the various life phases: from material synthesis and functionalisation, through electrode, cell, module and system development and production, to the recycling of production waste and aged battery systems and the return of recyclable materials to the cycle.
“In recent years, BLB researchers have played a central role in numerous publicly funded research projects and have also been entrusted with the management of Germany-wide competence clusters. The engineers we have trained are not only driving forward the BLB’s research projects, which are funded with around 10 million euros per year, but also the development of the German battery industry after completing their doctorate or master’s degree,” says Prof. Arno Kwade, BLB spokesperson.
“With the Battery LabFactory, Braunschweig has become a centre for energy storage research with national and international appeal. Today’s opening of the BLB’s CircularLab is a new milestone for us in the expansion of our infrastructure and our research, which will make a significant contribution to the energy transition, but also to strengthening the economic power of our region,” said Prof. Peter Hecker, Vice President for Research and Early Career Scientists at TU Braunschweig.
“Research potential is effectively bundled in the vicinity of TU Braunschweig. With the Battery LabFactory, the science region is sending out another clear signal for future-oriented research,” says Lower Saxony’s Science Minister Falko Mohrs. “There is an urgent need for research into electromobility and batteries. The work of the Battery LabFactory is aimed at meeting our need for mobility in a sustainable way, so that our mobility is not at the expense of the environment.
Cell production plays a key role in the e-mobility value chain – the battery accounts for around 80 percent of the cost of the powertrain. The Federal Government therefore aims to establish mass production of new battery cells in Germany. In addition to electromobility, batteries will also play an important role in stationary energy storage.
About the BLB
The BLB is one of the most important research institutions for battery research in Germany. Two competence clusters of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and a European network of pilot lines for lithium battery production are managed by members of the BLB. The BLB also works outside Europe with partners in Australia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA.
Project data CircularLab
The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the CicularLab took place in October 2021, the first systems were installed in autumn 2022 and the lightweight hall will be officially opened on 6 November 2023. In total, there will be around 1250 square metres of main floor space available. Three million euros have been invested in the building through an ERDF project of the State of Lower Saxony with funds from the European Union and TU Braunschweig’s own funds. A further ten million euros was provided by the federal and state governments for the procurement of the CircularLab’s plant technology and analytical equipment. The client and investor is TU Braunschweig.