QueEn: »Quality-oriented and energy-reduced plant technology for LIB- and NextGen-production in mini-environments«

Brief description

In the QueEn project, solution approaches and technologies are being developed that sustainably optimize the entire value chain under economic and environmental aspects. The results are to usher in a new generation of plant technology in battery cell production.

The attractiveness of environment solutions lies in the enormous energy reduction as a result of encapsulation close to the process or even the product. In QueEn, a mini-environment concept is being developed and implemented that, as a whole, addresses the biggest industrial challenges. Increasing production and process requirements make it necessary to also consider future cell materials in the design of the plant technology.  Currently, these materials still bring existing dehumidification technologies to their technical limits.

For this reason, we are developing an innovative and energy-efficient dehumidification technology for mini-environments. Accompanying intelligent control and regulation methods are implemented to ensure interactions between production technology and atmosphere. Looking at the entire value chain from an industrial perspective, the plant engineering interfaces present a particular challenge. On the one hand, this is the feeding of semi-finished products, the elimination of malfunctions and the fully automated plant interlinking, which are essential for high throughputs in future gigafactories (such as the automotive sector).

Likewise, the surrounding atmosphere and the integration of the concepts in factories will be explored. The goal is to design a modular building block system that will enable the transferability of the mini-environment concept to other areas of the value chain. Furthermore, the project targets process innovations for the safety-critical and bottleneck process "electrolyte filling".

Project schedule

The work plan is divided into a total of seven work packages:

  1. The first package deals with the holistic requirements analysis. The aim here is to develop a solution that is scalable and easy to customize.
  2. The second work package focuses on process innovations. In particular, an innovative leap in electrolyte filling is to be realized here.
  3. The third package develops a dehumidification technology tailored for mini-environments. Furthermore, flow models and methods are realized here, which enable the control of an interlinked overall system. 
  4. Step four secures the achieved findings and realizes an interface-optimized plant technology considering the defined requirements. In addition, the initial plant commissioning takes place here.
  5. The fifth work package realizes the digital implementation and enables the data-bound process optimization.
  6. In the sixth package, the demonstrator is tested in order to gradually implement optimization approaches. 
  7. The project is concluded with the derivation of recommendations for action and adaptation for the entire value chain. 


Utilization of results

In the QueEn project, knowledge and skills in lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing in general and in the promising subfield of mini-environments in particular will be expanded. During the research and development process, the results of the work will be examined for patentability. In addition, the findings will be published in the form of scientific papers, articles in trade journals, and at trade fairs and conferences.

The results will lead to further research questions and subsequently to further research activities. In this way, we are helping to sustainably strengthen Germany as a business and research location in a technology of the future. In particular, the results of QueEn will be aimed at utilization in gigafactories for the automotive sector. Here, the highest demands are placed on product quality and cost reduction.

The Fraunhofer Institutes are initiating a knowledge advance in this new field of technology - within the already established cell manufacturing technology compared to non-European competitors. In this way, we are contributing to the international competitiveness of Germany as a business location in the long term. It is planned to publish parts of the results obtained at at least one conference and at least one technical journal.

The project will promote the standardization of production facilities. This is intended to consolidate battery cell production in Germany as a location. According to the umbrella concept Research Manufacturing Battery, the Fraunhofer FFB is a scaling and exchange platform. Therefore, another goal is to use the platform to incorporate the results of QueEn, for example, in industrial offerings or in co-authoring guidelines. Scaling and sharing of the knowledge built up will thus be ensured.