Energy Storage

By turning away from nuclear and fossil fuels, the energy transition has redefined the focus of energy generation and storage. Numerous industries have already started the transition to alternative energy sources. The automotive industry is also facing the challenge of utilizing sustainable energy forms and new production technologies. Therefore, the demand for new energy storage systems and efficient manufacturing processes is steadily increasing.

Energy storage systems are particularly crucial to future mobility if we want to get around and transport goods in a way that conserves resources and is emission-free. If CO2-neutral mobility is to remain affordable and to secure its place in private and freight transport, technical advances and new concepts for manufacturing energy storage systems are crucial to achieve long ranges, high payloads and short charging times.

Demand for battery cells is soaring as a result of vehicle electrification. Electric vehicles, powered by a fuel cell, can serve as an alternative for vehicles with high payloads and long ranges. Generating electricity from oxygen and hydrogen is a way to replace conventional drive systems for trucks, construction equipment or buses and even aircraft and trains while keeping refueling times short.

The "Energy Storage" business unit at the Fraunhofer IPT develops solutions for the serial manufacture of energy storage systems aimed at reducing production costs and achieving high added-value for industry. Our focus is on battery cells and PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells as electrochemical energy converters in combination with hydrogen pressure tanks. We also concentrate on the production technology for generating green hydrogen by electrolysis.

Your industry in the spotlight

Automotive

We support companies in upscaling for economical serial production from production equipment to entire production systems for energy storage systems.

Energy

We keep an eye on and develop production technologies for electrolyzers for the production of hydrogen from renewable energies.

 

Aviation

We produce prototypes of components made of innovative materials for electrical drive systems with high power density.

Our services in the Energy Storage business area

  • PEM fuel cells: Manufacturing of components and stacking, for example prototypical production and analysis of metallic bipolar plates as well as discrete and continuous production of MEA
  • Different forming technologies for bipolar plates. Prototypical forming using different technologies and assessment of results
  • Hydrogen pressure tanks: Prototypical production and analysis of fiber reinforced tanks for different pressure levels.
  • Pressure storage: Production solutions for fiber-reinforced plastics pressure tanks including winding systems
  • Production equipment: Consulting and comparison of different manufacturing technologies for forming tools. Prototypical production with varying technologies.
  • Development of special purpose machines, e.g. Roll-to-Roll (R2R) plants
  • Electrolyzers: Manufacturing of components and automated assembly
  • Automated cleaning of components
  • Technology benchmarks: Analysis and evaluation of production technologies for energy storage components and systems.
  • Design of complete production lines including automation and handling solutions for large-scale production.
  • Expertise on the subject of production digitalization aimed at achieving quality assurance.
  • Value stream analysis for production processes

We collaborate with industry and other research facilities to consider requirements for the manufacture of energy storage units, their technological implementation and latest research results. To this end, we work particularly closely with our partners in the "Fraunhofer Research Factory Battery Cells FFB" and the RWTH Campus Center "Fuel Cell Industrialization FCI".

Current projects involving energy storage systems

This selection of our on-going projects will give you an insight into the directions we are pursuing. We welcome contact with organizations interested in discussing ideas with us and finding solutions.

Video footage

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Type-4 composite pressure vessels exhibit exceptional energy storage capacity at low weight and are therefore the preferred selection for storing hydrogen and other gases in mobility applications. If thermoplastic fiber-reinforced tapes are used to reinforce the vessel, the manufacturing process can be environmentally friendly with no emissions or residues and the vessel is more easily recyclable afterwards. The Fraunhofer IPT is developing production machines and processes for manufacturing thermoplastic composite pressure vessels. The video shows the production of such a type-4 pressure vessel using the laser-assisted tape winding process.

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The video shows the standardized process development for the production of lightweight components made of fiber-reinforced plastics at the Fraunhofer IPT. The chosen example is the production of a pressure vessel. In the first step, geometric and process-relevant boundary conditions are defined together with the client. This is followed by the generation of path data for the layer-by-layer composition of the composite laminate. After verification of the machine code, the component can be manufactured on a production system by the Fraunhofer IPT. During this process, process data is systematically collected for subsequent targeted evaluation.

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Fuel cells are composed of a large number of individual cells for generating electrical energy from hydrogen and oxygen. The bipolar plates inside these cells must be produced in high volumes to meet the exponentially growing demand for the coming years. Fraunhofer IPT is working on technologies that enable upscaling for economical high-volume production.