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 G√≥mez, 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.