CATL and Fraunhofer IKTS predict batteries’ lifetime

The German branch of the Chinese battery manufacturer CATL and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS want to continue their cooperation. A new joint project to determine the service life of batteries will run until 2027.

© CATL / Paul-Philipp Braun

CATL and Fraunhofer IKTS are working together to improve the prediction of battery life. The information gained is intended to optimise battery production so that batteries last longer, reducing costs and the need for resources.

The “BattLife” project, in other words, the cooperation between the two parties, started in 2020. With the support of the German state of Thuringia, CATL and Fraunhofer IKTS have set up a “jointly developed high-end test facility at the CATL plant at Erfurter Kreuz.” It can simulate different environments with different temperatures, humidity, and also charging and discharging times. And it does so “simultaneously on a large number of test objects”, Fraunhofer IKTS emphasises.

CATL supplies the necessary data on how batteries respond to varying environments or operating modes. Based on that data, the Battery Innovation and Technology Center BITC of Fraunhofer IKTS “has created the first battery lifetime development model of its kind in Germany.” Researchers use said model and simulations to better describe the service life of batteries.

The companies plan to continue collaborating, with the new project “BattForce” running until 2027. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, the focus will be on battery swelling, “which has emerged as one of the most important determinants in the life cycle of batteries.” To enable data collection, CATL and Fraunhofer IKTS have developed new technology and plan to expand the research centre in Erfurt.

“BattForce is the necessary and logical further development of our previous joint work,” says Dr Roland Weidl, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer IKTS, Head of Battery Innovation and Technology Center BITC. “In the process, our Fraunhofer know-how on industrial measurement methods will provide more precise results and thus optimised data to even better map and predict conditions in electric vehicles.”

“The decarbonisation of the economy, which is so urgently needed, cannot be realised without battery technology. This shows how significant the research work is that CATL and Fraunhofer IKTS are doing here. In this context, it makes me proud that Thuringia is well on its way to becoming a leading location for battery research and production,” says Thuringia’s Economics Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee.


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