For Faster Loading in Electro MobilityMulti-Million Grant for Battery Research at Aalen University

Research into Next-Generation Batteries: Electrodes from lithium-ion batteries are being coated at the Institute for Materials Research at Aalen University

Mo, 12. August 2019

Long wait times at the loading station should, in the near future, be a thing of the past. The Federally funded project „structur.e“ would like to contribute to that and has set itself a goal: to develop new lithium-ion batteries with improved fast-charging capabilities for electric vehicles. With a group of renowned cooperating partners of economy and science, completely new solution approaches should be pursued. Today, there are already the first promising findings that back this potential.

The Green-Light for the federally backed project „structur.e“ (supported by the Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy) was given following a short Kick-Off meeting in Wolfsburg with the Project Coordinator, Volkswagen AG. Alongside Aalen University, numerous project partners participated, for example: Porsche Deutschland, Trumpf Laser LLC in Ditzingen, the German Aerospace Center in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological and Economical Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, as well as the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Ulm.

Long Wait Times Soon to Be Passé?

In the next three and a half years, „structur.e“ will be supported by a little under 6 Million Euros. Additionally, the operations will bring in further personal contributions. One goal unites the enlisted partners: to bring the electric current faster into the „tank“, so to say, the battery, and with this, to shorten the annoying wait times for electric vehicle charging. Thus, different solution approaches are being pursued at the respective locations, and experimental expertise with know-how in the field of numerical simulation are being combined. Last but not least, the solution approaches should – if at all possible – be combined with each other and quickly implemented in application and in the market.

Structuring with Lasers

The approach used at Aalen University aims at the internal, structural building of the mere 50-150 µm large battery electrodes. The team, led by Professors Volker Knoblauch from the Institute for Materials Research (IMFAA) and Harald Riegel from the Laser Applications Center (LAZ), is focusing, among other things, on the use of lasers for microstructuring the electrodes. „With the Laser, we can specifically influence the function of the electrodes, in which we expose surface-level pores or else we produce three-dimensional structures – in either case, we would like to improve the transport of lithium-ions through charging“, explains Professor Riegel. First prep-works showed a positive effect on the so-called current rate possibility and should only be further pursued in the project.

Cooperating with the Big Players

„Next to the 5 Million Euro backed FH-Impulse Project, SmartPro, structur.e, with an around one million Euro Federal funding, is one of the largest projects that we have had at the University“, claimed Professor Knoblauch joyfully. The fact that the University plays such a supporting role in the concert of the major players really emphasizes the strengths and visibility of battery research in Aalen. Especially through the building of a high-class equipment infrastructure at the University, we have managed, in the last few years, to be perceived as an attractive cooperation’s partner for differing questions regarding energy saving, not only in the region, but also across all of Germany, explained Knoblauch further.