Highlights of battery research
The ProZell Competence Cluster presents the key results of the first funding phase of BMBF-funded projects; Landshut University of Applied Sciences is represented with the LocoTroP project.
Within the scope of the ProZell Competence Cluster for battery cell production, since 2016, scientists in Germany have been conducting collaborative research on the individual process steps for the production of battery cells. Their goal is to significantly increase the performance and quality of battery cells and to reduce the production costs. The active networking of some 32 research institutes at 15 locations allows for the bundling of know-how and the creation of valuable synergies. Overall, the scientific basis for the establishing and sustainable further development of an internationally-leading form of competitive battery cell production in Germany is to be created. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) provided funding of approximately 16 million Euros for the first phase of the ProZell Competence Cluster, which was successfully completed in 2019. Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Pettinger from Landshut University of Applied Sciences was appointed by the BMBF to the management group for the cluster, where his work includes assisting the networking of the projects. The Competence Cluster has now summarised its key results from the first phase of funding in a report. Landshut University of Applied Sciences is also represented in the LoCoTroP project.
Innovative process for dry coating
The field of electrode production for lithium-ion battery cells primarily entails the use of wet-chemical processes, which, due to the solvents used, necessitate a complex form of exhaust gas cleansing. In addition, it is also necessary for the electrodes to be dried in an energy-intensive process. This is where the LoCoTroP project under the aegis of Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Pettinger, Landshut University of Applied Sciences, steps in. The research team at the Technology Centre for Energy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) and the University of Braunschweig Institute of Technology (Institute for Particle Technology) developed an innovative, solvent-free and environmentally-friendly dry coating process for battery electrodes on a laboratory scale. The scientists were able to demonstrate how the powder materials can be mixed on a dry and highly intensive basis, and in so doing, develop a complex powder structure.
Lower production costs
This stable powder mixture can be applied and attached directly to the metal film without destroying the materials. Furthermore, the performance of the battery electrodes manufactured in this way remained the same or even showed improvements in comparison with conventionally-manufactured electrodes. At the same time, the project demonstrated that the new technology results in a significant reduction in production costs. This means that on the one hand, companies can reduce material costs by omitting toxic and flammable solvents, while on the other, they can also reduce expenditure on waste disposal and explosion protection measures. Moreover, the new technology also simplifies the approval procedures for emission control, and therefore leads to a location advantage for the production of the cells.
Collaborative project between three institutions
The procedure for the dry mixing of the components was developed by TU Braunschweig (iPAT). The coating process, as well as the transfer to pilot plant scale, were driven by the Fraunhofer IPA, based on preliminary work. The verification of the electrode quality and the determination of possible improvements in the electrode structure were carried out by the Technology Centre Energy (TZE) at Landshut University of Applied Sciences. The TZE also contributed its process-related know-how to the industrial production of electrodes.
For further information on the ProZell competence cluster and the detailed results report, please visit www.werkstofftechnologien.de/programm/batterieforschung.
About the project
The Low-cost dry coating of battery electrodes for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly production processes project (LoCoTroP) ran from August 2016 until the end of July 2019 and was completed by Landshut University of Applied Sciences (Technology Center Energy) together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation and the University of Braunschweig Institute of Technology (Institute for Particle Technology). The project was directed by Prof. Karl-Heinz Pettinger of Landshut University of Applied Sciences Energy Technology Centre. The funding was provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Pettinger