Milestone in battery research

Grand opening of the “FFB PreFab”

Press release /

Today in Münster, a significant step was taken in the research and production of sustainable, resource-efficient battery cells with the inauguration of the first phase of the Fraunhofer Research Fabrication Battery Cell FFB, known as "FFB PreFab". Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, North Rhine-Westphalia's Minister-President Hendrik Wüst, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft President Prof. Holger Hanselka opened the facility, which spans approximately 6,800 square meters of research space. With this launch, Fraunhofer FFB begins research activities at the site, utilizing cutting-edge European machinery technology.

© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
The "FFB PreFab" represents a significant milestone towards the establishment of the "FFB Fab". Upon completion, the FFB Fab will offer an extra 20,000 square meters dedicated to production and research, facilitating large-scale industrial research and development in the gigawatt range using plant technology in Münster.
© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
The "FFB PreFab" was inaugurated in Münster on April 30, with key figures present including Prof. Dr. Achim Kampker, Institute Director of the Fraunhofer FFB; Prof. Dr. Jens Tübke; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft; Hendrik Wüst, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia; Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research; Ina Brandes, Minister of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia; Silke Krebs, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia; and Prof. Dr. Simon Lux, Member of the Fraunhofer FFB Executive Board.
© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
At the "FFB PreFab," technology maturity progresses from the laboratory to the innovation module, and finally to the production line, all housed under one roof. Prof. Simon Lux elucidates the production steps involved in manufacturing battery cells to the distinguished guests.

Münster. Battery and storage technologies are crucial for the success of the energy and transportation transition. Electric vehicles need potent batteries to achieve the necessary ranges, and renewable energy relies on stationary energy storage. The Fraunhofer FFB, as an open battery cell factory dedicated to research and development, plays a pivotal role in enhancing the production of German-made battery cells. Consequently, it meets the global market demand and aids in establishing Germany as a premier international technology hub for the foreseeable future.

Opening ceremony at the HansaBusinessPark

The "FFB PreFab" was inaugurated on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at the Hansa-BusinessPark in Münster, welcoming over 500 guests. A demonstration line for full-scale battery cell production allows the Fraunhofer FFB to assist its industrial partners in the trial and adoption of novel battery cell designs and production methods. The research facility specializes in producing pouch and prismatic cells for research applications, which are utilized in electric vehicles, medical technology, and smart devices.

Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, stated: "Battery technology is a crucial future-oriented key technology. Hence, we are scaling up the production of battery cells in Münster. This marks a significant step towards establishing a technologically independent, competitive, and sustainable battery ecosystem. The FFB will serve as a unique global innovation tool that enables both industry and science to experiment with novel battery technologies, create new battery cell designs, and effectively achieve market readiness. The FFB draws upon our outstanding scientific research and the fundamental strengths of German industry, including mechanical and plant engineering, as well as the automotive and chemical sectors, to forge ahead with the development of cutting-edge battery cells and their production processes. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is investing up to 500 million euros in the advancement of battery cell research production. I am thrilled to announce that research activities are now commencing with the initial PreFab construction phase."

© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
The opening ceremony took place in a marquee on the future site of FFB Fab.
© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
In the symbolic act of opening the FFB PreFab, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research (left), and Ina Brandes, Minister of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (right), together with State Secretary Silke Krebs (not in the picture), flipped the switch.
© Susanne Kurz / Fraunhofer-Einrichtung Forschungsfertigung Batteriezelle FFB
Fraunhofer FFB Institute Director Prof. Dr. Achim Kampker welcomes NRW Minister Pres-ident Hendrik Wüst and Minister for Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ina Brandes, at the opening ceremony of the FFB PreFab.

Minister President Hendrik Wüst stated, "In North Rhine-Westphalia, research, development, and industrial application are closely connected. Our leadership in battery research is already established on a global scale. The Fraunhofer FFB in Münster is poised to significantly contribute not just to North Rhine-Westphalia but also to the broader goal of maintaining our strong industrial base, ensuring secure and quality employment, and meeting our ambitious climate protection goals. The inauguration of the FFB PreFab, a mere two years following the groundbreaking ceremony, marks a significant stride towards these objectives."

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, stated: "The inauguration of the PreFab marks a significant milestone for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the FFB battery cell research production, and most importantly, for sustainable and competitive battery production in Europe. By employing innovative machine technology, we are forging a link between research and industry to foster sustainable battery production in Europe. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our collaborators in industry, politics, and our partners, including the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city of Münster, our site partners, and my colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institutes. Together, we have achieved considerable advancements in battery research and are making a crucial stride towards a sustainable future."

Science Minister Ina Brandes: "Our future is only conceivable with smart batteries. They will have a permanent place in people's everyday lives: for energy supply, electromobility and smartphones - we are dependent on this key technology everywhere. With the Fraunhofer FFB, we have the opportunity to close the gap between basic research and application on a large industrial scale. The science and business location will benefit from this excellent ecosystem of research, teaching and application. This makes North Rhine-Westphalia even more attractive for well-trained specialists."

Markus Lewe, Lord Mayor of the City of Münster: "With the opening of the FFB PreFab in Münster, we are taking another big step towards the future. A dynamic cluster with international appeal is being created here, which will sustainably strengthen Germany as a technology location. I am delighted that the vision of BatteryCityMünster is already being put into practice by science, business and society. I would like to thank everyone involved in this success for their trusting partnership and support, especially from the federal and state governments."

International pioneer

Approximately 125 employees are currently employed at the Fraunhofer FFB. In collaboration with MEET (Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology) at the University of Münster, as well as other research partners in Aachen, Jülich, and across Germany, BatteryCityMünster is emerging as a key business and technology hub in Germany and Europe, garnering further development and international interest.

Financial support from the federal government and the state of NRW

The large-scale initiative receives funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research along with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The federal government contributes up to 500 million euros to the Fraunhofer FFB for research infrastructure and initiatives. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia allocates up to 320 million euros for property and new constructions, having substantially increased its financial support recently to ensure the facilities closely meet the changing requirements of the FFB.

The Battery Cell Research Production FFB is embedded in the umbrella concept for battery research under which the BMBF has organized its funding of battery technology at various competence centers and clusters in the state.

Press photos can be downloaded here.

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