SGL Group - The Carbon Company - welcomes the fact that the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung or BMBF) intends to fund a new pilot plant for the development and optimization of lithium-ion cells in Ulm.
The battery pilot plant will be operated by Kompetenznetzwerk Lithium-Ionen Batterien (KLiB) (Lithium-Ion Battery Competence Network). KLiB's 25 industrial partners, including BASF, BOSCH, Evonik and SGL Group, will invest a double-digit million sum in the operation of this pilot plant; the BMBF will fund the research work. Federal Research Minister, Annette Schavan, and Hubert Jäger, Head of Technology & Innovation for SGL Group and Chairman of the Board of KLIB, have signed a declaration of intent.
"The planned pilot plant will enable us to quickly increase new cell production processes from the laboratory stage to industrial mass production readiness in a targetoriented way," explained Jäger. The Ulm location was chosen because of its excellent research infrastructure, which includes the ZSW (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung) (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research) Baden- Württemberg Ulm and the Helmholtz-Institut für Energiespeicherung (Helmholtz Institute for Energy Storage), established at the start of 2011 and also funded by the BMBF.
Cell production is a key part of battery manufacture, accounting for the highest proportion of added value. "Efficient, safe and cost-effective batteries are an essential prerequisite for Germany to become not only a leading electromobility market but also a leading supplier of electromobility solutions," said Gerd Wingefeld, a member of the SGL Group board of management, who is involved in the "Materials and Recyling" Working Group of the Nationale Plattform Elektromobilität (NPE) (National Electromobility Platform).
Germany commands high levels of expertise in material development, the basis for cell production and the subsequent integration of multiple cells into a battery system. However, when it comes to economic cell production on an industrial scale, Germany still has some catching up to do. Important aspects such as process technologies for cell and battery production have not been adequately covered by present funded projects.
SGL Group not only supplies the electromobility sector with lightweight solutions based on carbon fiber composites but is also a major producer of graphite and carbon anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Our research and development is concentrated on future technologies for alternative energy production, energy storage and lightweight construction and in this area we rely on close collaboration with scientific and industrial partners. "We consider this to be the key to rapid, market-oriented development and therefore we are strongly committed to the development and extension of competence networks such as the KLiB," said Hubert Jäger.