Elektrodes for the production of battery cells.
© Fraunhofer IST, Falko Oldenburg
Elektrodes for the production of battery cells.

Process Technology and Production Engineering for Sustainable Energy Storage Systems

The Fraunhofer IST consolidates its work in the field of innovative energy storage systems within the department “Process Technology and Production Engineering for Sustainable Energy Storage Systems”. The focus here is on material and process development as well as the design of the factory system for the manufacture of energy storage devices. Furthermore, a holistic and sustainable configuration of the entire life cycle of energy storage systems in terms of life cycle management is pursued - from the material production, via the different production stages and the utilization, through to recycling.

In collaboration with the Fraunhofer institutes IKTS and IFAM, the Fraunhofer IST is actively involved in the Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and Systems. Here, the institutes combine their expertise in the fields of development and production of future battery and hydrogen technologies. The common goal is to advance mobile and stationary energy storage systems to industrial maturity and to scale-up promising production processes from laboratory scale to series application. The ZESS works closely with the Technische Universität Braunschweig and and the Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB).

Material and Process Development

© Fraunhofer IST, Marén Gröschel

The working group “Material and Process Development” focuses on the production, functionalization and conditioning of innovative battery materials such as solid electrolytes, active materials and lithium-metal anodes. A major challenge is the scaling-up of the associated production processes from laboratory to pilot scale. The traditional core competencies of the Fraunhofer IST in the field of surface technology, such as the application of protective coatings or the production of thin metal films, are thereby of essential importance. A further focus is formed by the characterization of materials and intermediate products along the process chain by means of the widest variety of analytical procedures.

Sustainable Factory Systems

Integrated planning of battery cell production.
© Fraunhofer IST, Marén Gröschel
Integrated planning of battery cell production.

In the topic field “Sustainable factory systems”, the focus is on the holistic design of production systems for current and future energy storage systems. The range of services thereby extends far beyond the planning and dimensioning of processes and process chains and encompasses the design of the entire factory from the individual process through to the factory roof. This involves the consideration of diverse and complex interactions between products, processes, technical building equipment and buildings. The focus is particularly directed at methods of the “digital factory”, such as the simulation and construction of “digital twins” of products and processes. The range of services includes:

  • Layout planning, material-flow planning, production-plant planning
  • Energy and material-flow simulations, e.g. discrete-event simulation, agent-based simulation and process simulation
  • Creation of digital twins of products and processes, construction of cyber-physical systems
  • Automated acquisition, processing, evaluation and visualization of production data, e.g. by means of data mining and augmented or virtual reality

Life Cycle Management

Schematic life cycle of energy storage systems.
© Fraunhofer IST, Marén Gröschel
Schematic life cycle of energy storage systems.

In the topic field “Life Cycle Management”, the activities cover the entire product life cycle from the material production through to recycling. Using methods such as “Life Cycle Assessment” and “Life Cycle Costing”, technical-economic-ecological analyses of the life cycle of energy storage systems are performed. The security of supply as well as social aspects, e.g. working conditions in the extraction of raw materials, are also taken into account in the context of a sustainability assessment. This enables the advantages and disadvantages of new generations of energy storage systems to be comprehensively compared beforehand and for problem shifts to be identified and avoided at an early stage. “Integrated Computational Life Cycle Engineering” facilitates a highly automated computer-aided evaluation of design options in the life cycle and serves as a basis for decisions as early as the initial development phases. The range of services includes: 

  • Petri net-based energy and material-flow modelling
  • Ecological life cycle analysis by means of product/process Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Economic Life Cycle Costing (LCC)

Hydrogen Technologies

© Fraunhofer IST, Marén Gröschel

In the topic field “Hydrogen Technologies”, a detailed understanding of the entire hydrogen value chain from hydrogen production, via storage and distribution, through to utilization is focused upon. The range of services includes the technological development of materials and processes for electrolyzers, hydrogen storage systems and fuel cells as well as the deallocation and optimization of the linked system elements. Technical interrelationships as well as economic and ecological dependencies are thereby modelled and made evaluable through the use of digital tools.

The aim is the testing and realization of hydrogen technologies along the entire value chain as well as the establishment of general development paths for sustainable utilization concepts for green hydrogen in production and mobility. The Fraunhofer IST is a founding member of the Wasserstoffcampus Salzgitter (hydrogen campus), a regional research and demonstration platform which focuses on both technological implementation projects and qualification programs. The range of services offered includes:

  • Analysis of hydrogen in solids by means of SIMS depth profile analysis, e.g. quantitative determination of hydrogen in ta-C, DLC and metal-CH layers
  • Determination of the diffusion depth profiles of 2D (heavy hydrogen) in deuterium-impinged surfaces
  • Surface modification (topographical, mechanical, thermodynamic) and coating of components, for example internal tank coating of hydrogen storage tanks by means of electrochemical coating
  • Corrosion-protection coatings for metallic bipolar plates 
  • Preparation of thin-film catalysts by means of electrochemical processes, physical vapor deposition (PVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD)
  • Integrated quality assurance through thin-film sensor technology in production processes and system components
  • Development and coupling of digital twins of system elements along the “hydrogen value chain”
  • Sustainable use of green hydrogen in production and mobility




Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and Systems ZESS


Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg


Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter

The Fraunhofer IST is a founding member and research partner of the Salzgitter Hydrogen Campus.