Image: Fraunhofer IWU

Light­weight bat­ter­ies: longer range and faster charg­ing for e‑cars

Fraun­hofer IWU is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the EU research project MARBEL (Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Assem­bly of mod­u­lar and Reusable elec­tro vehi­cle Bat­tery for Envi­ron­ment-friend­ly and Light­weight mobil­i­ty), which will devel­op an inno­v­a­tive and com­pet­i­tive light­weight bat­tery with increased ener­gy den­si­ty and short­er charg­ing times to accel­er­ate the intro­duc­tion of elec­tric vehi­cles in the mass mar­ket. Specif­i­cal­ly, this involves a new com­pact, mod­u­lar, weight-opti­mized and high-per­for­mance bat­tery pack with a longer ser­vice life than pre­vi­ous bat­ter­ies and greater ener­gy effi­cien­cy. For this pur­pose, a flex­i­ble yet robust bat­tery man­age­ment sys­tem (BMS) for ultra-fast bat­tery charg­ing is designed, built and prac­ti­cal­ly demon­strat­ed. The new bat­ter­ies will also have a mod­u­lar design, which will make it pos­si­ble to stream­line repair, main­te­nance and recy­cling process­es. The val­ue of new bat­ter­ies is there­fore main­tained by the inter­change­abil­i­ty of indi­vid­ual — even defec­tive — parts. The bur­den on the envi­ron­ment is reduced.

MARBEL also focus­es on sus­tain­abil­i­ty and the prin­ci­ples of the cir­cu­lar econ­o­my. That is why the 16 research part­ners in MARBEL will “use sec­ondary raw mate­ri­als, work on the devel­op­ment of a more resource-effi­cient bat­tery sys­tem and ensure its easy dis­man­tling, refur­bish­ment and reuse for sec­ond-life appli­ca­tions,” explains Alber­to Gómez, tech­ni­cal coor­di­na­tor of the MARBEL project and head of Eure­cat’s ‘Elec­tro­mo­bil­i­ty and Ener­gy Stor­age’ research line.

Fraun­hofer IWU con­tributes to MARBEL exten­sive knowl­edge about light­weight struc­tures in con­nec­tion with pas­sive tem­per­a­ture man­age­ment of the bat­ter­ies. For more than 20 years, the depart­ment ‘Func­tion­al­ly Inte­grat­ed Light­weight Con­struc­tion’ has been work­ing on the tech­nol­o­gy and appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment of cel­lu­lar met­als — also known as met­al foam. Already in series use in machine tool con­struc­tion, these mate­r­i­al struc­tures offer out­stand­ing prop­er­ties. They are light­weight and in crash­es they absorb a lot of impact energy.