Laser Impulses for Battery Development

Laser beam welding of battery cells with a blue laser. (Source: Fh. ILT)

It is already expected that the solid fuel battery will have a significant impact on electromobility over the next ten years. To successfully industrialize such technologies, production engineering is a key requirement. “The NextGenBat project will make it possible for us to invest now in the technologies of the future and to explore the path towards industrially manufacturing next-generation battery cells,“ explains Dr.-Ing. Heiner Heimes, senior engineer at the Institute for Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components PEM at RWTH Aachen University. “As production engineers, we can help transform material innovations into competitive products.“

In the NextGenBat project, the six participating institutes from Aachen, Jülich and Münster are jointly developing pre-competitive research infrastructure within two years and with a budget of around €10 million. In it individual process steps will be created as module components on a pilot plant scale. With these decentralized solutions, the project participants shall pave the way for the entire value chain of the next battery generation, including all interfaces from the material synthesis of the active materials to the recycling of the cells.

The institutes are specialized in various fields of battery research, and their local proximity already unites them: a clear advantage in the targeted solution of complex tasks. One question they are tacking is, for example, how battery recycling can be optimized when novel materials are used.

Dr. Alexander Olowinsky, head of the Micro Joining group at Fraunhofer ILT, is working on laser-based production processes for the next generation of batteries. “NextGenBat offers us the opportunity to explore the potential of laser technology as a key technology for future cell and module concepts at an early stage and to test it in innovative systems engineering. We are thus providing important impulses for battery development,“ explains the scientist.The first devices and systems are already being procured and will later be available at the various institutes – partly in newly created laboratories – for further developments in battery technology in research projects.

Visitors of the Laser World of Photonics could find out more about the NextGenBat project at the Fraunhofer joint booth 431 in hall A2. The booth’s eyecather – “eace05“, an electric racing car of the Ecurie Aix Formula Student Team of the RWTH Aachen – is a good example for the use of high-performance laser processes in battery technology. (Source: Fh. ILT)

Link: Technology Focus Laser Material Processing – Micro Joining, Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen

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