Advanced Battery Technology Center (ABTC)

High-performance and Sustainable Battery Cells

The focus of the ABTC is on the joint research of TU Dresden and Fraunhofer IWS on future generation battery cells.
© Fraunhofer IWS
The focus of the ABTC is on the joint research of TU Dresden and Fraunhofer IWS on future generation battery cells.

The objectives of the "Advanced Battery Technology Center" (ABTC) are the development of new materials and innovative technologies for high-performance and sustainable battery cells. Expertise in battery chemistry, innovations in electrode production and modern cell manufacturing technologies are brought together on an interdisciplinary basis.

In the ABTC, researchers from the Technische Universität Dresden (Chair of Inorganic Chemistry I, focus on materials and electrochemistry) work together with Fraunhofer IWS experts in materials, surface and laser technologies under one roof. This team develops new solutions from materials to manufacturing processes to prototype cells and their evaluation. The focus is on lithium-based high-energy cells, such as lithium-ion, lithium-sulfur and solid-state batteries. In this way, the ABTC addresses the holistic process chain for the development of new battery cells and transfers new research results from the laboratory into application-relevant prototypes.

Event Note

 

Online workshop

9th Workshop "Lithium-Sulfur Batteries"

November 28–29, 2022

Department

Chemical Surface and Battery Technology

Fraunhofer IWS competencies in battery technology at a glance

Research Focus

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion cell in PHEV-1 format, manufactured with Fraunhofer IWS laser technologies (electrode fabrication and laser beam tab welding).
© Fraunhofer IWS
Lithium-ion cell in PHEV-1 format, manufactured with Fraunhofer IWS laser technologies (electrode fabrication and laser beam tab welding).

Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) and thus electromobility have found their way into various mass markets. Research focuses on the further improvement of performance characteristics – especially energy density – and on cost-effective and environmentally friendly production processes.

One of ABTC's approaches to increasing energy density is the use of pure (100 percent) Si anodes. NMC/Si battery cells are being developed as part of the KaSiLi project. Based on a fundamental understanding of materials and experience in battery cell design, multilayer pouch cells are being constructed and evaluated in an application-oriented manner.

As a contribution to cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly production, researchers at the ABTC are developing the DRYtraec® process. This innovative dry-coating process enables the production of battery electrodes without solvents and drying processes.

Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Von den Forschenden des ABTC entwickelte Lithium-Schwefel-Batteriezelle (5 Ah).
© Fraunhofer IWS
Von den Forschenden des ABTC entwickelte Lithium-Schwefel-Batteriezelle (5 Ah).

Lithium-sulfur batteries (Li-S) are characterized by high specific energy (currently up to 450 Wh/kg) and potentially low material costs. The complex cell chemistry requires further development of cell components and their coordination with each other. The ABTC has developed and patented numerous concepts for this purpose.

Special electrolyte formulations are used to regulate the formation of polysulfides, and carbons form the conductive framework for the conversion of the sulfur. Using solid electrolytes, the solid Li-S battery is also being investigated as a particularly promising cell system. Lithium metal anodes are manufactured, modified and automatically processed in cell assembly. The developments are demonstrated in prototype cells with up to 25 Ah capacity and tested with application-relevant protocols. 

Solid-State Batteries

Porous carbons as anode material in solid-state battery cells (BMBF project FestBatt).
© Fraunhofer IWS
Porous carbons as anode material in solid-state battery cells (BMBF project FestBatt).

Solid-state electrolytes enable increased safety and a significant increase in energy density through the use of metallic lithium anodes. In particular, solid-state batteries based on sulfide ion conductors are considered a possible successor technology to today's lithium-ion batteries in automotive applications.

Challenges exist at the mechanically/chemically unstable interfaces between electrolyte and electrode materials. At ABTC, innovative approaches to solving these major challenges are being developed and demonstrated in prototype cells. Material innovations include carbon and silicon anodes that enable operation at room temperature without dendrite formation, as demonstrated by initial investigations on pouch cells.

Cooperation Partner

© TU Dresden
Electron micrograph of a silicon-carbon composite.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Electron micrograph of a silicon-carbon composite.

Technische Universität Dresden 

The Chair of Inorganic Chemistry I of Prof. Dr. Stefan Kaskel at Technische Universität Dresden develops and investigates modern inorganic materials for the energy transition. The focus is on battery and photovoltaic materials as well as environmental and electrocatalysis. The spectrum of the interdisciplinary research team with over 50 employees ranges from the fundamentals to industrial applications.

At the ABTC, researchers from the TU Dresden and Fraunhofer IWS work together under one roof. The focus is on material and electrochemical topics around lithium-based battery cells such as lithium-ion, lithium-sulfur and solid-state batteries. Joint projects on those research areas can be found under projects.

Collaboration highlights

In recent years, fundamental materials research on the lithium-sulfur battery has led to prototype cells with a specific energy of more than 450 Wh/kg. These battery cells are thus significantly lighter than today's lithium-ion cells (max. 260 Wh/kg).

New anode concepts have been developed for thiophosphate-based solid-state batteries, which can now be demonstrated in the first pouch cells. Silicon anodes enable stable operation of NMC/Si solid-state cells at room temperature. The results of the collaboration are published in numerous papers in scientific journals.

Competencies at Fraunhofer IWS

Chemical Surface and Battery Technology

At Fraunhofer IWS, an interdisciplinary team is working on solutions for the battery of tomorrow – from the material to the cell.
© Siegfried Michael Wagner
At Fraunhofer IWS, an interdisciplinary team is working on solutions for the battery of tomorrow – from the material to the cell.

Material and process innovations are being used in the Chemical Surface and Battery Technology department to develop solutions for sustainable and high-performance battery cells. For example, the new DRYtraec® process eliminates the need for conventional solvents and energy-intensive drying steps in electrode production.

For the production of lithium metal batteries, the researchers offer efficient process solutions from the production of thin lithium layers to the automated assembly of the cells. Material science on structure-property relationships is the basis for holistic development of lithium-ion, lithium-sulfur and solid-state battery cells.

The range of services includes:

  • Electrochemical characterization of battery materials and correlation with structural properties
  • Process innovations for electrode and battery cell manufacturing
  • Design and evaluation of battery cells

Gas and Particle Filtration

BMWi project ReCycle: separated ultracapacitors for material analysis.
© Fraunhofer IWS
BMWi project ReCycle: separated ultracapacitors for material analysis.

In industrial processes, hazardous gases and particles often escape into the environment. Among other things, laser welding, ablation or cutting can generate these in the smallest format. The Gas and Particle Filtration working group has metrological solutions at its disposal to objectively evaluate atmospheres containing particles. In addition to the analysis of process exhaust gases, research focuses on the investigation of atmospheric aerosols, the evaluation of indoor air quality and filter efficiency tests, among others.

Fraunhofer IWS is also involved in the development of ecologically and economically efficient processes for battery recycling. In the ReCycle project, Fraunhofer IWS researchers detect harmful gas and particle emissions during mechanical disintegration. The focus is on various lithium-ion batteries and supercaps. Together with industrial partners, a filter prototype is thus developed and tested in the process under real conditions.

The range of services includes:

  • Detection of emissions during battery recycling
  • Development and testing of filter solutions for recycling processes
  • Resynthesis of recycled carbon material
  • Manufacturing battery cells using secondary materials

Laser Welding

Testing of a laser welding process for battery housings as part of the EU project ALBATROSS.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Testing of a laser welding process for battery housings as part of the EU project ALBATROSS.

In the transformation from fossil-fueled to battery-electric vehicle drives, production processes suitable for large-scale production are required. Laser welding processes have a high market penetration in automotive engineering and are therefore also attractive for new drive concepts. The laser welding working group has the appropriate system technology and the process engineering know-how to develop and test quality-compliant joints and transfer them to the industrial environment. The range of services includes the development of contacts for battery cells up to the complete battery as well as solutions for large-format battery boxes.

Fraunhofer IWS develops cross-technology, cost-effective, efficient and material-adapted welding processes, research focuses are:

  • Development of material and load adapted joint designs.
  • Execution of feasibility studies for laser-based welding processes
  • Characterization and evaluation of joint properties
  • Production of prototypes and small series

The researchers are developing innovative laser-based joining technologies and design concepts for lightweight cell connections and the aluminum battery carrier as part of the EU-funded ALBATROSS project. Together with project partners, they are pursuing the goal of developing lightweight solutions based on modular multi-material systems for battery modules and bases using fast and cost-effective processes, with dismantling, recycling and reuse as part of an eco-design concept.

Laser Cutting

Laser-cut anodes for different battery cell formats. The automated process allows flexible adaptation to different cell formats. In this way, anodes can be customized.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Laser-cut anodes for different battery cell formats. The automated process allows flexible adaptation to different cell formats. In this way, anodes can be customized.

The laser cutting work group is equipped with modern systems technology that is necessary for the realization of industry-relevant laser cutting technologies in battery production. Suitable laser sources (10.6 µm or 1.06 µm; continuous wave or pulsed lasers) and processes such as sublimation cutting, remote cutting or fusion cutting are used for the respective cutting task.

Typical cutting tasks are separators for anodes and cathodes, connectors as well as battery housings and various covers. The researchers are thus in a position to develop new industrially suitable processes for battery technology and to scale them up to high-rate production processes.

In addition to development contracts for the Chemical Surface and Battery Technology department, these research services are primarily in demand from mechanical engineers in order to develop application-adapted solutions for battery production. The start and end points of the research services can be freely selected and range from idea generation to laboratory verification and optimization to support for the start of series production.

Video: Research on the batteries of the future at the Advanced Battery Technology Center (ABTC)

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© Fraunhofer IWS

The virtual tour of the Advanced Battery Technology Center (ABTC) in Dresden presents key technologies for tomorrow's battery systems. The focus is on the development of new batteries with higher energy density as well as process technologies for an environmentally friendly and cost-effective production of battery cells with the leading dry film process DRYtraec®.

Projects

FestBatt

BMBF competence cluster for solid-state batteries (FestBatt): FB2-Thio – Cell Platform Thiophosphates (FKZ: 03XP0430A), FB2-Prod – Cross-Sectional Platform Production (FKZ: 03XP0432E), Timeframe: 11/2021-10/2024, BMBF

ecoLiga

Recycling and resynthesis of carbon materials from lithium batteries - recovery, reprocessing, reuse and adapted cell design (BMBF, FKZ: 03XP0354D)

KaSiLi

Structural mechanical cathode adaptation on silicon- and lithium-based anode materials (KaSiLi), Timeframe: 11/2019–10/2022 (BMBF, FKZ: 03XP0254 A-D)

LISA

Lithium sulphur for safe road electrification, Laufzeit: 01/2019–07/2022, (Horizon2020, FKZ: 814471)

SLIM-FIT

Development of Li-S battery cells based on CNT electricity collectors, Timeframe: 07/2022–06/2024, (Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, FKZ: 100589068) 

SoLiS

Development of multilayer pouch cell lithium-sulfur solid state batteries, Timeframe: 07/2021–06/2024 (BMBF, FKZ: 03XP0395B)

News and Media

 

Press release / 12.5.2022

DRYtraec® to become technology platform

Fraunhofer IWS receives millions in federal funding for dry battery electrode coating technology

 

Press release / 1.9.2021

Environmentally friendly manufacture of battery electrodes

Sustainable battery production with DRYtraec®

 

Press release / 5.8.2020

Solid-state battery to leap into industrial application

BMBF project “SoLiS” explores innovative lithium-sulfur battery concepts