Electrical, chemical and thermal energy storage

The safe storage of electrical energy with high energy and power density is a challenge. Materials and process engineering aspects are in the foreground at Fraunhofer IFAM in order to develop solutions for electrical, chemical, and thermal energy storage systems. The focus is on Li-ion, solid-state, and metal/air batteries. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology as well as the efficient, highly dynamic storage of thermal energy represent further research areas.

In the following, we give you a first impression of our main research areas.

Electrical energy storage


Lithium-ion technology has dominated the development of electrochemical energy storage systems since the 1990s. However, other battery systems such as solid state batteries and metal-air batteries are also a particular focus at Fraunhofer IFAM.

In the manufacture of battery cells, there are many interactions between the individual process steps, from the powder to the cell. Changes to individual process steps therefore have an impact on the entire chain. Customized analysis techniques for material and cell characterization play an equally important role. Service life and battery aging can be specifically influenced by the choice of operating conditions. At the same time, safety must be ensured throughout the entire life cycle.

For research into next-generation batteries, a laboratory for the development of solid-state batteries is available at Fraunhofer IFAM in Bremen. The institute is also involved in the Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and Systems ZESS at the Braunschweig site. There, the research focus is on the fields of solid-state batteries and chemical hydrogen storage.

Hydrogen technology


As a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen will play a key role in the long-term success of the energy transition and in climate protection. The new hydrogen economy requires numerous technical, infrastructural and regulatory innovations. Technical systems for the production, storage, distribution, as well as use of hydrogen, must be continuously developed so that they can become more efficient, more robust, safer, and more economical.

Against this background, Fraunhofer IFAM develops innovative materials, manufacturing technologies, and system components on behalf of customers in the research areas of electrolysis, hydrides, and hydrolysis, among others.

A very recent innovation from the researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM in Dresden is the "POWERPASTE", which is based on the solid magnesium hydride and which can be used to chemically store hydrogen at room temperature and ambient pressure and release it again as required.

High-performance thermal energy storage


Thermal energy storage (heat/cold storage) with high performance is becoming increasingly important, especially for increasing the efficiency of cyclic thermal processes. At Fraunhofer IFAM in Dresden, intensive research is being carried out in the area of latent and sorptive heat storage.

Latent heat storage systems use the heat of fusion of a phase change material (PCM) and thus store heat with high storage density at moderate cost and almost constant temperature. Sorptive heat storage systems use the bond heat of an adsorption or a chemical reaction (thermochemical storage systems).

The Energy and Thermal Management business area offers long-standing expertise along the entire development chain of these innovative thermal storage technologies using in-house materials know-how (e.g. cellular metals) - from concept through design and development to validation.