Fraunhofer FFB: A "milestone in battery research" achieved

The first construction phase of the "FFB PreFab", the Fraunhofer Research Fabrication Battery Cell FFB, was inaugurated in Münster (Germany). The facility will make a key contribution to advancing the production of battery cells "made in Germany" and help to strengthen Germany as a centre of technology.

The "FFB PreFab" was officially opened on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 at the Hansa-BusinessPark in Münster (Germany) in the presence of over 500 guests. According to Fraunhofer FFB, this marked "an important milestone in the research and production of sustainable and resource-saving battery cells". Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst and the President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Prof Holger Hanselka jointly opened the first construction phase of the Fraunhofer Research Fabrication Battery Cell FFB ("FFB PreFab"). With around 6,800 square metres of research space, the Fraunhofer FFB is now also starting research operations at the original site with the commissioning of innovative European machine technology.

Battery and storage technologies are key to the success of the energy and transport transition. Electric cars require powerful batteries for the corresponding ranges, while electricity from renewable energies is dependent on stationary energy storage. As an open battery cell factory for research and development purposes, the Fraunhofer FFB makes a key contribution to advancing the production of battery cells "made in Germany", according to the institute. "It thus addresses international market demand and helps to successfully establish Germany as a technology centre among the international leaders in the long term."

Model line for complete battery cell production

A model line for complete battery cell production on a smaller scale enables Fraunhofer FFB to support its industrial partners in testing and implementing new battery cell concepts and manufacturing processes. The research factory focuses on the production of pouch cells and prismatic cells for research purposes, which are used in e-cars, medical technology and smart devices, among other things.

Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger commented: "Battery technology is an important key technology of the future. That is why we are building the battery cell production of tomorrow on a large scale in Münster. This is a milestone on the way to a technologically sovereign, competitive and sustainable battery ecosystem. The FFB will be a globally unique innovation instrument with which industry and science alike can test innovative battery technologies, develop new battery cell concepts and efficiently bring them to market maturity. The FFB relies on our excellent science and the core competences of German industry such as mechanical and plant engineering, the automotive and chemical industries to develop innovative battery cells and corresponding production processes."

Prof Dr Holger Hanselka, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, described the opening of the PreFab as "an important milestone for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the FFB battery cell research production facility and, above all, for sustainable and competitive battery production in Europe. With innovative machine technology, we are building a bridge between research and industry for sustainable European battery production."

Globally unique concept

According to the institute, the "FFB PreFab" is an important step towards the construction of the "FFB Fab", which will create 20,000 square metres of additional production and research space and enable industry-oriented production research and development in the gigawatt range with plant technology on a large industrial scale in Münster. With both facilities - PreFab and FFB Fab - Fraunhofer FFB is currently one of the largest research construction projects in Germany and is unique worldwide in its concept and orientation.

In so-called innovation modules in the "FFB PreFab", test areas are available to partners from a wide range of industries. These enable the temporary accommodation of system concepts for joint testing and further development with project partners. Under one roof, technology maturity is transferred from the laboratory to the innovation module and on to the production line. Innovation and commercialisation processes are thus driven forward and risks are reduced when transferring innovative cell concepts and production technologies to large-scale production.

International pioneer

Around 125 people are currently employed at the Fraunhofer FFB. Together with MEET (Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology) at the University of Münster and other research partners in Aachen, Jülich and throughout Germany, "BatteryCityMünster" is thus becoming a central business and technology location in Germany and Europe, and is experiencing internationally recognised further development.

Caption: Research operations are now starting on around 6800 square metres of research space. A sample line for complete battery cell production on a smaller scale enables the testing and implementation of new battery cell concepts and manufacturing processes.


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