Two Fraunhofer Institutes and VDE Establish Batteries and Storage Systems Center

March 25, 2018 by Paul Shepard

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, the Ernst-Mach-Institute, EMI, and the VDE Technology Association are establishing a new competence center in Freiburg for batteries and energy storage systems. In so doing, the three partners respond to the booming demand for safe and commercially viable batteries and energy storage systems as key technologies for electric mobility and the increasing use of renewable energies.

The center will focus on market-oriented research and development and the testing and certification of batteries and energy storage systems support the global energy transition and the expansion of electric mobility.

More than €30 million are expected to be invested in the new competence center in Freiburg over the next three years. Operations are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2019.

The portfolio includes applied, market-oriented research and development (R&D) of battery cells and systems, developing new test standards, performing safety and performance tests, and certifying components and complete battery systems along with energy storage plants in the field, particularly in the “bankability” and “insurability” of storage projects. The focus is on stationary storage systems, electric mobility and portable applications.

Market-oriented development of battery and storage Systems

The Fraunhofer ISE has years of experience in researching, developing and testing storage batteries, ranging from cells to modules to systems and their integration in holistic systems. Safety tests that also include destruction and crash tests of full vehicle batteries are particularly important in electric mobility–a field in which the Fraunhofer EMI has years of expertise and different testing facilities.

With their knowledge in the fields of standardization and certification, the VDE experts offer certification of performance, service life, reliability and data security for battery and storage systems, going beyond established safety standards.

Baden-Württemberg becomes a center for battery testing

Establishing the competence center for batteries and energy storage systems at the Freiburg location seamlessly complements the numerous activities of the state government of Baden-Württemberg in the fields of battery technology and electric mobility. The VDE and Fraunhofer ISE’s Freiburg center particularly assists the industry in quality assurance and developing new production capacities.

This is of significant importance for the automotive industry in their expansion of electric mobility. Go quicker from lab to fab: thanks to the center’s development-related tests and certifications, companies can shorten their product development cycles and therefore ensure their competitiveness in a dynamic, global market.

Professor Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

“I am very happy that we are getting this pioneering project off the ground together with our long-time partner, VDE, and our partner institute, Fraunhofer EMI. Numerous new applications were made possible due to the successes in the Fraunhofer ISE’s research and technological development in batteries and energy storage systems with higher energy densities and longer service lives,” commented Professor Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

“The Fraunhofer EMI’s expertise in safety technology ideally complements this portfolio. Costs for battery components, along with the entire energy storage system, have considerably decreased. We must continue to work hard on this and also provide the greatest-possible safety and trust in this fast-growing global market with standards and test procedures”, Professor Henning added.

Ansgar Hinz, CEO of VDE

Ansgar Hinz, CEO of VDE, observed: “Batteries, energy storage systems and renewable energies are among the VDE’s core competencies. Our VDE Renewables Group has already responded to the strong dynamic and quick development of new products in the energy sector for many years now.

“Due to today’s significantly stronger, system-based approach in renewable energies and energy storage systems, a close integration of battery tests, power electronics and software systems is becoming increasingly important. In addition, there are new challenges in the IT security of systems.

“The VDE has already successfully implemented this approach with Fraunhofer ISE in other sectors of renewable energies, and we will also continue this approach together in energy storage systems with this global initiative,” concluded Hinz.