“EMBATT-goes-FAB”, a project sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is working to develop bipolar batteries and processes for their fabrication. This project includes four partners namely thyssenkrupp System Engineering GmbH, IAV GmbH, Daimler AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS.
Thanks to their unique stacked layout, the bipolar batteries offer a higher storage capacity and, ultimately, a greater range for the vehicle, which is achieved using the same surface area. The innovative battery technology is being taken to the next level of maturity and thus one step closer to industrialisation.
In their joint project “EMBATT-goes-FAB”, the companies involved want to make a contribution to improving future vehicle batteries. By researching scaled manufacturing technologies and integration solutions, the project aims to advance the industrialisation of so-called bipolar batteries.
These are Li-ion batteries, like fuel cells, consist of stacked electrodes connected in series. In contrast to conventional Li-ion batteries, these electrodes are, as the name indicates, bipolar. This means that the active materials for the battery cathode and, overleaf, the active materials for the anode are applied to a common electrode carrier. The individual Li-ion cells are then no longer packed separately in aluminum housings.
Only the finished stack of electrodes is given a fixed housing. This eliminates housing components and connecting elements, which saves costs and space in the vehicle. Instead, the freed-up space can be filled with more active material. As a result, the battery can store more energy and the vehicle can drive further. This is the charm of Li-ion bipolar batteries, which have so far only been investigated on a laboratory and pilot scale.
The motivation for the four project partners to take this technology to the next level of maturity is obvious, as is the incentive for the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, which will provide financial support for the “EMBATT-goes-FAB” project over a period of two years.
The partners involved in the project will also be closely interlinked in order to master the new challenges. These range from the production of improved bipolar electrodes based on lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxides and graphite as storage materials (Fraunhofer IKTS), to the scaling of assembly technology up to a size of 1000 x 30 cm² (thyssenkrupp System Engineering), the incorporation of an electric battery monitoring system (IAV GmbH), and safety simulations to address specific vehicle requirements (Daimler AG).