Offenburg University of Applied Sciences continues to expand battery and photovoltaic research. The recently approved Enerlab 4.0 project aims to investigate and improve the electrochemical and materials science properties of lithium-ion batteries in particular. At the "Diagnostic Battery and Photovoltaic Laboratory for Energy Issues in Industry 4.0" (the full title of the project) extensive equipment is being set up which is suitable both for so-called in-operando diagnostics (i.e. examination of the batteries during operation) and for so-called post-mortem diagnostics (i.e. examination of the internal components at the end of their service life).
Project manager Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bessler from the Institute of Energy System Technology and lecturer in ECM and PDE is enthusiastic about the new laboratory: "The Enerlab offers us completely new research opportunities. Until now, we could only examine the cells from the outside, for example to measure current intensities and voltages. In the future we will be able to see inside." His colleague Prof. Dr. Dirk Velten adds: "The new laboratory enables us to combine energy technology with material analysis. In this way we can help to solve problems such as aging and operational safety." Prof. Dr. Daniel Kray specifies for the photovoltaic sector: "With the Enerlab, the possibilities of photovoltaic research at the university are significantly expanded: The innovative ecological solar modules that we produce in the PV laboratory can now be precisely measured according to international standards. The project also enables spectroscopy of the electronic lifetime in solar wafers and solar cells." Other colleagues involved are Prof. Elmar Bollin and Prof. Dr. Bernd Spangenberg. The plant will be part of the Regional Innovation Centre for Energy Technology (RIZ), which is currently under construction.
Enerlab 4.0 is located at the intersection of two research foci of Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, namely Energy and Industry 4.0. There are numerous open questions here. On the one hand, these concern the energy supply of an industry 4.0, e.g. batteries for decentralized and wireless sensors or the reduction of the energy costs of companies through intelligent control or self-power supply with new generator-storage combinations. On the other hand, it is about the use of industry 4.0 methods in battery and photovoltaic production, e.g. for quality control, where manufacturing defects are to be detected and fed back into the production process. The new equipment provides the necessary equipment for both areas. "Companies from the battery and photovoltaic production sectors as well as home storage manufacturers are involved in the project," says Prof. Bessler. The practical approach is intended to contribute to mastering the challenges of the energy transition.