New Energy Storage Research Project
A center for fundamental research on the ageing of battery materials and power electronic systems is being developed till 2020 at RWTH. The German Council of Science and Humanities has granted 60 million Euros of funding from the NRW state and federal governments for the Center for Ageing, Reliability and Lifetime Prediction of Electrochemical and Power Electronic Systems, CARL for short.
Speaker of the project is Prof. Dirk Uwe Sauer from the Institute of Power Electronics and Electrical Drives.
Prof. Sauer explains the basic idea behind the CARL concept as follows: "We want to understand how energy stores function and react to different requirements down to the atomic and crystal levels", because the questions of compounds for power semiconductors, such as those used in electric vehicles or wind turbines, are very similar. "Only when we know the physical-chemical processes we can produce systems that work without overcapacities or redundancies."
Three laboratory suites
The funding will be used to erect three large laboratory suites, which form the core of CARL. The first suite will contain testing benches for load and environment simulations. For example, electrical, mechanical, chemical, and climate influences on the material and systems of batteries and power electronics will be investigated. Here ageing processes are run and analysed in a time lapse, in order to research their causes in detail.
The second laboratory suite is dedicated to the construction of prototypes.The performance capability of the system or even individual components will be investigated in order to exclude material or design errors early on.
The third suite will focus on physical-electrochemical analysis. With the help of an analysis chain for structure and material investigations, which include a highly modern computer tomograph with a not yet attained resolution, the structures of the materials can be investigated and analysed down to atomic resolution.
CARL is an interdisciplinary research institution at which staff from ten core professorships and around 20 other chairs and institutes at RWTH and Forschungszentrum Jülich can conduct groundbreaking research. These include scientists from the disciplines of chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science or material science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.